15:36 PM

5 classes college students should consider taking, regardless of major


When you enter a university and decide on a degree plan, you know you will have a number of course requirements that must be fulfilled. However, there are certain courses you might not have considered taking that could be both professionally and personally valuable.

University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Director of Career Services Chuck Crocker, and Lecturer in Marketing Lynn Place offer students guidance and support they need to leverage all their interests and find internships and opportunities that can launch careers. Both say that if a student has an opening in their schedule for an extra course, it might be worthwhile to consider a class that helps develop some skills that position you as the kind of well-rounded candidate that employers across all industry seek.  

Tip 1: Learn to work productively in groups. “Take a class in which you have to work and communicate with others on a team,” Place said. “Writing, public speaking, communication and making presentations are so important.  Learning to express an opinion adds to the value that you bring to any job, as well as helping you communicate and express yourself in other areas of your life.”

Tip 2: Expand your knowledge of people who aren’t like you. Social and cultural science classes are engaging and current, promote understanding and empathy, and can help shape your view of the world, which is beneficial in all areas of life. “A sociology or anthropology class brings you together with international communities or with cultures different from yours, and you learn that not everyone thinks the same way,” Crocker said. “That’s helpful and employers appreciate people who have understanding of other perspectives.”

Tip 3: Mental health issues have significant implications in the workplace and in life.  Emotional or mental issues that are left unaddressed can affect your work and your overall well-being and quality of life. “It’s important to understand mental health issues, for others and for your own self-care,” Crocker said. “Taking a class in psychology or in something related to human behavior shows you want to be aware of signs and symptoms of problems in this area. This will benefit you as an employee and as a person.”

Tip 4: Consider adding a minor to your degree plan. “This can make a big impact,” Place said. “For example, if you’re a business or technology major, consider minoring in communication. That is critical to technology and business; skills in communicating and relationship building can help you get the job. It means you’re a problem solver and you have critical thinking skills in another area than your major.”

Tip 5: Travel abroad. With resources and assistance available at UHCL’s Education Abroad and Scholar Services, studying internationally is more accessible than you think. Traveling and living in another culture can add immeasurable value, both on your resume and in your life. “This kind of experience demonstrates your willingness to learn about others, and that applies to anything,” Crocker said. “It offers a breadth of understanding that you can’t get in the classroom. Especially if you don’t have much work or internship experience, studying abroad shows you bring an additional element to your major that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.”

Consider college as a catalyst to advance your personal growth as well as your academic and professional development. For more information about how to find internships and other resources to help you showcase your main skills as well as your other interests on your job search, visit Career Services at www.uhcl.edu/career-services.