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5 Elective Courses Colleges Really Need

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Are you a college student who has had the experience of registering for courses and wishing you had some other options? Check out these five elective courses colleges should offer.

Rethinking College Electives

Colleges tend to offer important, fundamental courses that will help prepare you for your career. And some universities even offer unique, interesting electives like The Art of Walking and Elvish, the Language of Lord of the Rings. But we think there can (and should) be a middle ground: courses of value that, for some reason, colleges don't seem to offer. Here are five electives we wish we universities would start offering their students.

1. Money 101: How Not to Be Poor

A college graduate in this day and age is entering a different financial world than students of generations past. Between high tuition costs, rising rent in major cities, student loans, and unpaid internships, figuring out money is hard for today's young adults. Just navigating your benefits package at your first job can be incredibly confusing. You have to make decisions about 401ks, investment, insurance, taxes, FSAs, HSAs, oh, my! And then there are questions like 'How much money should I be saving?' 'How in the world do I buy a house?' An elective course that helps students navigate all of these money matters would be invaluable.

A college student struggling with debt and other financial issues

2. The Impact of Social Media

Here are two undeniable facts:

  • Many, many young people today participate in social media and have been doing so for years.
  • Social media use has an impact on individual lives and the culture as a whole.

Not only that, but social media can (and does) have an impact on a person's professional life, as well. If they're going to be on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., for hours a day, college students would certainly benefit from a better understanding of the emotional, psychological, and social impact of these behaviors. What research has been done so far? Are there ways to use social media more or less responsibly? That's where our imaginary elective comes in.

3. What to Believe Online

Today, the proliferation of the Internet means that people have more access to information than ever before. Is this a good thing? Yes. Probably? We're not the experts. But our point is that 'fake news,' opinions presented as facts, clickbait articles and videos, and so on all tell us things that may or may not be entirely true and we need to know how to do our due diligence and ascertain what exactly to believe. An online media literacy course that shows students how to doubt and scrutinize online information and do their own research could make a huge difference.

An emergency room at a hospital

4. Emergency Preparedness

We're not going to say that the world is crumbling, but we're not going to say it isn't. The climate is changing, mass shootings are happening regularly, and huge decisions are being made by the government regarding foreign policy that can have a major impact. And that's on top of the usual threats of fires, earthquakes, car crashes, assault, and more. Do you feel like you're adequately prepared for a total collapse of the economy? Heck, I'm not sure that I'm even adequately prepared to walk down a city street at night. The bottom line is this: emergencies happen. We should be ready, just in case.

A college student struggling with mental health issues

5. Managing Stress and Mental Health

Today's rates of youth anxiety, depression, and suicide are staggering. Even those students without mental health struggles must still deal with the more 'typical' pressures of college courses, paying tuition, and entering the job market. Being a college student is stressful! Heck, just being a person is stressful. We would love for there to be an elective offered that can guide students through managing their stress, understanding and taking care of their mental health, and knowing when to seek help. It could make a huge, important difference.

Would you take one of our imaginary electives? Let us know on Twitter @studydotcom.

Looking for some help with your college courses? Check out Study.com's College Accelerator.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
September 2018
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