As the time approaches for all college and university students to register for next semester’s classes, we are all thinking the same thing: course registration is stressful, regardless of whether you are a freshman just figuring out how to register or a senior dying to register for the last time before graduation. Schedule building, which is just as important, is equally as stressful. You strive for the perfect balance of classes: a schedule that will challenge you, but not kill you. One that will fulfill requirements, but also keep you interested and engaged. One way to keep this balance is to look for and take classes outside of your major. Look through your college’s course registry and read the course descriptions. See which ones spark your interest and that fit with your other classes; keep them in mind as you schedule build.
Making my first college schedule at freshmen orientation was terrifying…what classes do I take? I need this class – what if it fills up and there are no spots for me? I have a backup schedule but I really want these courses! Course registration is already intimidating with the idea of having to get specific classes for your major, but remember that taking courses outside your major is just as important! Not only will it add variety to your current course load but it also has other benefits:
Meet New People
When you declare your major, you will notice the same familiar faces in your classes, especially in those core classes required for your degree. Adding a class from a new area of study can really mix up with whom you interact in and out of class. You will meet new students and professors, which is helpful for recommendation letters and even new research opportunities!
A Different Point of View
Being with the same people in the same course of study, the perspective in which you view some topics can be pretty biased. Taking courses outside of your major can help you see what you are learning in a different light. In doing this, you can also help focus in on what you are specifically interested in within your major.
For example, take the following situation: You want to major in communications, but it is a very broad major and you are not sure exactly what you want to do after you graduate. You take a psychology course to fulfill a science general education requirement and a marketing course in advertising because it sparks your interest. You realize that both of these subjects really interest you: a possibility for your career could be in Media Psychology, which is the study of the psychological effects of media. This combines your major in communications with psychology and business with a concentration in marketing.
Improve your GPA and Enhance your Degree
Taking classes outside of your major can help you boost your GPA and add weight to your degree, which can help you get an internship while still in school and/or a job after graduation. Multiple courses of study show employers that you are multi-faceted and have further knowledge than just your major.
Helps You In ‘The Real World’
To some, the thought of taking a business, finance, or accounting course not only sounds boring, but just terrifying. However, these courses can help you in the long run. These courses teach practical skills, such as paying taxes, balancing finances, and budgeting. They can also teach how to use programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, which are used daily in thousands of jobs. Missing out on these courses includes missing out on these important skills.
But there are SO MANY courses to choose from! How to choose what courses to take?
- Want to get better at public speaking? Most colleges will offer an intro-level public speaking/oral communication course that will ease you into the process of preparing and delivering the perfect presentation!
- Enjoy learning languages? Take a linguistics course and learn how a particular language is structured and used by its speakers!
- Like music? Take a course on music from a specific region of the world!
The possibilities are endless and your college or university is bound to offer something that interests you!