General Education–Gen Ed–is a dreaded term to nearly every college student, and likely college professors as well.

Both groups would undoubtedly rather be in classes where students actually care about the material being taught, but universities continually require a base of classes in multiple areas from institution to institution.  Whether it’s to provide a “well-rounded education” or just to get more money out of its students, universities require it nonetheless.

But what if those required base classes were actually useful?  What if English majors didn’t take Math 101 and vice versa?  What if you were really taking courses that would benefit you for years to come –classes that will help you in and out of your future career?

The following list of classes are some that I feel everyone should take.  If you’re in need of more credits on top of your major (like I currently am), try some of these out.

classes you should take

Finance/Accounting

accounting class

We’re starting off the list with a class that most people won’t enjoy but will truly benefit from.  Even if your goal isn’t to become an accountant or doesn’t include money in any way (not likely, by the way), you are still going to be making money, and that means you’re going to pay taxes.

You’ll save a lot of money later on if you can file your own taxes and get great deductions without going to a professional CPA to have it done for you.  Take a basic finance class one year and you’ll be one step closer to making that a reality!

Journalism/Composition

Strong writing skills will help you no matter what field you’re in as well because you have to be able to communicate effectively, and the written word isn’t going anywhere (it’s just changing forms).

Whether you take journalism or a basic English composition class is really up to you.  I’d recommend journalism, but I’m also a little biased being a journalism major.  Look into what your school offers and is strong in before signing up.

Political Science

Did you vote in the last election?  Did you know who you voted for or how the election really works?  Unfortunately, many Americans don’t even know who their elected representatives are.

Don’t be one of those people–take a political science class and learn the basic structure of your government and be an informed, voting citizen.

Business/Management

business management

Unless you are going to work from home and/or be self-employed after graduation, you are going to be working for a company, and likely in some form of an office-like system.  Knowing how that works and what your superiors are dealing with–even on a basic level–will benefit your career at any company.

Taking a management or even a business course will educate you on how companies operate and may even help you in dealing with the oh-so-pleasant office politics when you come across them.

Communication/Speech

This is typically already included in a school’s Gen Ed program, but if not, take it anyway.  Just like with the composition class, conveying your message and getting your point across is very important in any field.

If you’re not using writing to do that, you’re speaking and you need to be eloquent when necessary.  Taking a speech class or interpersonal communication class can help you understand your audience (and yourself).

 A persuasion class wouldn’t be bad either–I’m currently in one and it is very interesting.  Wouldn’t you like to win every argument you get into?

PE/Activity Class

Basketball, bowling, ballroom dancing, jogging and more are offered at many universities for credit.  They may only be one or two credits each, but they do help you reach credit requirements.

More importantly, they keep you active and also give you a break from the stress of your “traditional” classes.

Web Design/Development

take web design classes

I don’t have to tell you that the Internet is taking over the world and is becoming an absolute necessity in many jobs.  Not only is access to the Internet necessary, but so is proficiency in using it. Many fields even prefer you have the skills needed to edit webpages or know basic code.

Taking web design and web development classes (they are/should be two separate courses) will give you that proficiency in things like Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc. or whatever it is that you are interested in learning.

If you can edit a basic webpage and create even simple graphics, you become a much more valuable asset to your future employer.

With only a few classes our the many you’ll take in college, you have created a great base of an education for yourself that is likely far more useful than what your university requires.

What classes do you feel are necessary for every student? Share them in the comments!