7 Practical Classes To Take Before Graduation

College. You know, the usual: risqué Halloween costumes, strings of all-nighters, beer pong contests and stories to last for decades…oh, and the four-year process of earning a diploma. But with the current state of our nation’s economy, our degrees are not as highly valued as they used to be, despite the rising prices of our annual tuition, textbooks and time. Therefore, here’s a list of practical college courses to ensure that you (and your parents and your state’s budget) are getting the most bang for every single buck:

Economics. It doesn’t matter what degree you’re pursuing, you’re ultimately doing it to make money – no matter what amount. Learn the basics of banking, rules of a prisoner’s dilemma, and the foundations of accounting. The concepts of supply and demand apply to everything, from hosted happy hours to using sex as collateral for…absolutely anything.

Public Speaking. You’ll earn class credit to collect confidence and practice the art of efficient gesticulating. Not only will you emerge with a GPA boost, but you’ll have a handful of strategies helpful for articulating your speech and standing with presence. You will never be afraid of a potential presentation to everyone in the office, one that even includes your boss’s boss. Honestly, knowing how to speak to people like the leasing agents at a car dealership will make a measurable difference – literally.

Human Nutrition. Contrary to popular belief, foods that claim to be “organic” or “low fat” may not always be. Your professors can tell you why you can’t keep the weight off with the Atkins diet, and what it really means to be healthy. Warning: what you learn may ruin a few appetites for the rest of your life. Especially if your professor is into video clips and documentaries. (Extra credit: look up if your university offers Pathology so you can finally get educated on diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity!)

Ethnic Studies or Gender Studies. America may be a melting pot, but the recipe in reality is not always so delicious –  unnecessary tensions rise and inaccurate stereotypes are assumed. Stock up on politically correct pronouns for all genders (yes, there are more than two) and realize the struggles of every ethnicity, including your own.

Introduction to Cognitive Science. This class outlines the basic functions of both the mind and the brain – they’re different! Though the effects of caffeine, drugs and depression on the brain should be common knowledge, it isn’t. Find out the synapses behind sex addiction and the magic behind memories…and yes, it is true that those who learn how to play music at a young age physiologically develop larger brains!

Foreign Language. Pick one. Spanish, Italian, Chinese, sign language, you can’t lose. Hint: being bilingual is a useful skill to list on a résumé!

Environmental Conservation. What exactly is global warming? Why are gas prices on the rise – again? What kind of electricity can our houses run on when we retire? Measure the size of your own global footprint as you walk around the most wasteful country in the world. The environmental effects that are learned in this class can be directly applied to futures in business, engineering and even fashion and advertising (the green movement is a lucrative one!), as well as indirectly to our own daily lives.

Ultimately, college is all about expanding your horizons, meeting new people and pushing yourself to new boundaries, You might as well get credit for it – who knows, you may decide to pick up a minor and/or find a new major!

So what’s been the most practical class you’ve taken thus far?



  1. criolle johnny says:

    Every Ethnic studies class is taught by a Liberal Democrat Minority.
    Every Womyn's Studies class is taught by a Liberal Democrat Feminist.
    Every Environmental Conservation class is taught by a Liberal Democrat with a beard.
    The opposing view will not be presented and will probably not be tolerated. If you present an opposing view on any sort of essay it will be graded that "your opinion is wrong".
    I'm gettin' hostile. Time to make some candles.

    1. Vikki says:

      I took a woman's studies class taught by a Male teacher who always provides both sides of the issue…it's called being a good professor.

    2. Alicia says:

      I took an ethic studies course from a causasian woman, whose political preference was never discussed.
      So, no. Not every class.

    3. Sarah says:

      Maybe this is because compared to conservatives, liberals generally care more about ethnic interests, women's interests, and environmental conservation. Just a guess. Flame away.

    4. criolle johnny says:

      Arguing with a Liberal is like wrestling in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.

    5. grant says:

      Of course they're liberal. Any educated person should be.The purist definition of liberalism is an ideology that prefers equality and liberty for all. Dumbass.

  2. Cassie says:

    I don't agree with the above comment at all. I attend the University of New Hampshire and we have Ethnic Studies classes taught by primarily white professors from both ends of the political spectrum. Our Womans Studies classes have a few male professors. And our Conservation classes are taught by people from both major parties and I don't believe that any of them "have beards" as you claim.

    Stop being so ridiculously judgmental and you may learn something from these courses…

    1. criolle johnny says:

      The logic of your argument is overwhelming. Your years of experience on the Middle School Debate Team have paid a dividend.

  3. cheekychimp says:

    Hm.. Being bilingual isn't that special here in the Netherlands, as it's pretty common for Dutch people to speak or at least understand English (and/or German for older generations). I am however, considering to start taking French classes again, as it would be a shame to let those six years in secondary school go to waste.

    And if being bilingual can look great on a resume, being able to speak three languages is even better of course.

  4. Vikki says:

    Interesting article! I never considered taking Economics as a Bio major, but now I might consider it..

  5. […] 7 Practical Classes to Take Before Graduation @ College Candy. Do You Really Want to be Your Own Boss? @ PIN. What is Your Investor Style? @ TDGB. The Case for Automating your Finances @ The Military Wallet. Is Using a Debt Snowball a Good Idea? @ Moolanomy. IRS Tax Credits and Deductions to Save on Your Taxes if You Have Kids @ Free From Broke. Education Tax Credits Can Help Pay For College Costs @ Smart On Money. Save Money By Joining a CSA @ Couple Money. How To Teach Kids About Money And Get Results @ Wealth Pilgrim. How to Start a Business with No Money | Want it Bad Enough? @ PT Money. Commonly Missed Tax Deductions @ Debt Free Advanture. The Mortgage Tax Deduction Myth @ Gen X Finance. 8 Reasons To Use Your Credit Card @ The Wisdom Journal. Picking Mutual Funds: Don’t Just Look at the Winners @ Oblivious Investor. Home Equity Loan vs. a Hone Equity Line of Credit @ Good Financial Cents. What A Financial Advisor Can And Cannot Do For You @ Amateur Asset Allocator. Tweet This!Share this on del.icio.usShare this on PFBuzzShare this on RedditShare this on TipdStumble upon something good? Share it on StumbleUponShare this on TechnoratiShare this on FacebookEmail this to a friend? […]

  6. criolle johnny says:

    You were very fortunate. That's called "getting an education".

  7. Heather says:

    Finance. I'm taking it this semester and it really opens up your eyes to everything you must know to be financially sound. This class is hard but you will learn a lot that you definitely need to know in life. Knowing TVM and how to calculate things like annuities can also keep you from getting scammed in loans and stocks.

  8. i'm going to go out on a limb and say…ugh …NOT…smh

    Four Loko Death Calculator: How Many 4 Lokos Would it Take to Kill You? |

  9. @Rainesford says:

    I have an interesting take on this, and the college search/experience in general, since it's something I'm struggling with myself. Please read and comment on my blog, where I recently discussed the "rabbit hole" and "wonderland" of college and college decisions:

  10. Elena says:

    I do believe you are a lucky person, thanks God for blessing you.

  11. Well, didn't take too many classes in the college.. when i realized it?? I already graduated… :D

  12. marc g. says:

    Retired marketing professor speaking: good list; add: motivational psychology (helps to understand why people do what they do). Shakespeare: (same reason as psych); Music/Art History: (if not in college, when will you learn about culture?)

    A person who speaks 2 languages is "Bi-Lingual". A person who speaks 3 is "Tri-Lingual". Somebody who speaks one language is "American"…

  13. […] taught me some valuable life skills.*  apparently someone else had that same thought and produced this gem giving current undergrads a slice of wisdom i would have gladly taken at that point in my […]

  14. guesty says:

    where is the sociology class? understanding how society functions is pretty practical if you ask me, much more than economics where they shove right-wing free-market lies down your throat!

  15. dlee says:

    you most certainly do not learn the foundations of accounting in econ

  16. healthy20something says:

    A great list overall, but like some of the other comments I'd like to also stress that you're really not going to learn much about accounting or personal finance in an Introductory Economics class (at least at many colleges where economics and finance/accounting are two different things). If that's what you're looking for then take an intro accounting/finance class if your college offers it, or participate in a non-credit course/program on personal finance which many schools offer.

    That said, as an Economics major (so, take note of my bias) I DO think it's absolutely worth the time to take an Introductory Economics class because it presents you with a different way of thinking about the world and rational behavior, and if the course is Intro Macroecon (or includes macro and micro) you'll learn a lot of information about how a countrywide economic system works and how global economies interact. Taking an intro econ course in conjunction with an Intro Poli Sci (US politics, comparative, or international) is something I think every college student should do if they're at all interested in being informed citizens and, importantly, voters.

    And if your college offers an Introductory course in a topic like Globalization or Sustainable Development, these can be very interesting courses that touch on many of these topics–economics, environmental issues, political science, ethnic studies, gender studies…

  17. […] are some classes from that you should definitely take (or should have taken) while in college that will help you start […]

  18. […] high blood pressure and obesity!)Wanna see the final four classes to take before you graduate? Click on over to CollegeCandy!AKPC_IDS += "47407,"; TweetPosted on on March 12, 2011 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: […]

  19. Cher Sprague says:

    I agree with guesty, take an intro to sociology class! I know at my school you are required to take so many credits of social sciences, and thats a great one to take. Of course, i'm a soc major so perhaps I am a little biased.

  20. Evelina says:

    I personally learned a lot in my Ethnic Studies classes – so much that I decided to minor in Asian American Studies, but I also enjoyed my Chicano Studies class. I also recommend taking Sociology classes.

    One thing I regret is not taking a public speaking/interpersonal communications class – and now my time is up… :/ (Graduating next quarter)

  21. […] 17. Sign up for a few of these classes. […]

  22. […] few weeks ago, College Candy and The Campus Companion posted articles on essential classes college students must take before […]

  23. Jaye says:

    Thanks, i'm taking public speaking next semester & i'm PRAYING for a miracle! I can honestly say that I am the WORST public speaker alive. But I need it for my field. Wish Me Luck!

  24. […] with the help of CollegeCandy, you’ll quickly learn how to navigate in these new waters: which classes you really should be taking, how to look chic after rolling out of bed, what recipes are actually manageable and how to do your […]

  25. […] college in Southern California will soon implement a two-tiered pricing system that offers high-demand classes at a much higher price. Class fees are currently set at $36 per unit and will rise to $46 beginning […]

  26. DHH says:

    human biology – excellent class that informs you on how things like the heart a brain work. If you go to a doctor who says you have a blockage in your left ventricle, how will you know what he's talking about? At my school, this was an easy and fun A. Also, introductory (majors or non-majors) chemistry classes are helpful – the world has so many misconceptions about chemicals, it's important to know what they are and how to handle them. I would also recommend US History, since so many people are so ill-informed about our country and its founding. For that matter, throw in polisci as well.

  • You Might Like