Drama Class. Bowling. Basket Weaving. At one point or another, all college students have heard of the infamous "blow-off classes". These are easy elective classes that students like to target to easily boost their GPA, or to nudge their course load to just the right number of credits. While taking these classes may make life a bit easier in school, taking electives such as these means you’re missing out on a great opportunity. By taking electives that teach real-life skills, however, you can improve your potential marketability to employers post-graduation.

Public Speaking

Standing in front of a roomful of people — or even being one-on-one in a job interview is enough to make most people start to sweat. While this fear may never fully go away, taking Public Speaking may help you control your nerves, which in turn will help you make a better impression and deliver your message more effectively.

The skills one learns in Public Speaking can be applied in almost any career path. They will first be tested during the interview process. By having a calm demeanor and confident, well-prepared responses to the interviewer’s questions, a candidate will gain an instant edge over candidates who tremble and stumble over the same questions. If a student’s goal is management, they must be comfortable speaking in front of others in order to motivate, direct, and otherwise communicate clearly to their team.

Health

Although taking as many health and biology classes as possible will be helpful for medical student hopefuls, one doesn’t have to be on the medical path to benefit from some additional knowledge about the human body. Certain college-level Health courses teach students basic knowledge about the human body, from nutrition to first aid and CPR.

Even outside of GPA and career, these skills one learns in Health are applicable for life. From spring break to parenting, knowing CPR can be potentially life saving for the people around you, making you a valuable asset to your community. In the business world you will find yourself at the top of the class during mandatory safety trainings.

Foreign Language

In some school districts, foreign language mandatory in high school, but few college majors require foreign language credits (unless, of course, you want to become a translator). But with the world becoming increasingly global, it’s only a matter of time before those requirements change.

For now, foreign languages simply pose a massive advantage in the post-graduation job hunt. From customer service to business management, employers prefer candidates who broaden the company’s reach with their bilingual skills. For example, a Business major would find Mandarin Chinese to be a great asset due to the extensive importation that goes on between the US and China. The same could be said for a school teacher or tutor who wants to expand their student base by appealing to immigrants. Furthermore, learning a second language strengthens and enhances the human brain, making it more efficient at learning and problem solving. More importantly, learning a second language broadens your worldview by exposing you to new perspectives and experiences.


When registering for classes at the beginning of each semester, take your electives seriously. “Blow off” classes can still be a good way to have fun in the middle of a busy study day, but taking one of the suggested electives gives you marketable skills for the long run. Finding balance between the two is the key to getting the most out of your elective credits, and your college experience as a whole.