We all know that college is a time for parties and for classes that look good but don’t teach much. Well, I’m here to tell you that if you want to get something lasting out of your college experience besides a piece of paper, take a handful of basic skills classes that you’ll be able to use for the rest of your life. Whether you’re a banker on Wall Street or a Betty homemaker, we could all use the skills taught in these basic classes.

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This is how we share things now: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram. Our lives are becoming more and more are photo-centric. Ergo, one day many years after college, you’re going to wish you knew how to take a decent picture so you don’t have to shell out $50 a pop for a stock photo on your startup’s website. Or, so you can take pretty Instagram pictures of cocktails with #nofilter.

Either way, basic photography is becoming more and more essential to the way we interact and how we conduct business. A 101 should teach you all you need to know about DSLRs and digital point and shoots and then you’ll never have to pay a professional.


Raise your hand if your parents pay someone to do their taxes. Yes, that’s about half of us, now think of all the people who don’t pay someone to do their taxes. They’re no smarter than you, they’re just more educated in the accounting field. Taxes are relatively easy, especially for college kids and recent post-graduates.

Take one of the basic accounting classes that covers filing taxes and exemptions and the like and you’ll never fall for bogus tax-filing fees.


Well, really, learning to garden couldn’t hurt. And with the apocalypse always right around the corner, we’re all going to have to learn how to grow our own food eventually, right? But seriously, with the rising costs of food, you’ll be happy to know how to grow a few tomatoes and herbs in a tiny square of soil. Plus, it’s a pretty fun class that’s nearly impossible to fail.

Web Design

This goes for everyone. Whether you’re going to be a nurse or a blogger, you should learn a little something about web design and HTML. One day you might want to start a blog about your travels, babies, or new hobby. You might need to have an online resume and portfolio at yourname.com for the increasingly competitive job market.

Maybe you just want to take pictures of cool things using your photography skills and share them with friends, but keep full ownership (i.e. not using Facebook). Learn a little web design; you won’t be sorry.

Finance & Investments

When you’re 26 and halfway broke but looking to buy a house, you’re going to wonder where the last five years of your income went. If you’d taken a class in finance back in college, you wouldn’t have to wonder, because you would have opened a Roth IRA, a couple of CDs, and made savvy investments long ago.

A quick class in basic finance can be the difference between budgeting and bankruptcy a few years down the line. If you’ve got student loans to consider, this class becomes even more important.

Political Science/Government

Yes, normally those political science courses are for those with a hankering for death-by-boredom; however, with the chaos that is our current government, we could all use a solid background in What the Heck is Going On 101. You could substitute this for, say, foreign policy, or a sociological perspective on government, or maybe something that covers social security.

You’ll feel a lot smarter flipping through the New York Times if you’ve got one of these classes under your belt, and you’ll be a very educated voter when you start to care about things like that.


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Image: SalFalko