The Worst Classes to Take in College
Today I am going to write about college courses that nobody wants to take, because they are often boring, time-wasting, or worse. I am also going to recommend that you should get these courses out of the way by taking them online, not in the classroom, because online alternatives are often better. I will try to explain why.
But before I go any further, let me admit right now that my list of “worst” classes isn’t based on extensive scientific research. I didn’t poll 1,200 college students and ask them to name the worst classes they have taken. I didn’t talk to hundreds of students to ask their opinions.
What I did do, however, was look at dozens of campus blogs and message boards to review complaints about courses that students dislike. I tried to “read between the lines” of those gripes and pinpoint courses that are less than wonderful.
With that said, here’s my list . . .
Math classes for general students. Okay, I’m generalizing. But many colleges require all students to take some kind of math-ish course as a prerequisite to graduating. One example? “History of Mathematics” courses, which lots of students seem to dismiss as boring and useless. Since you are incapable of understanding the Pythagorean Theorem, you learn when Pythagoras lived. GRRR. A better alternative? You can take a real live college algebra course online, really learn something, and get your course requirement out of the way at the same time.
Core curricular science courses, often with required labs. Many of these courses teach students something about physics or botany or biology, but not enough to actually be used to do anything. Does a theater major need to know the life cycle of ferns, for example? Does an accounting major need to learn physics to understand velocity, vectors, or acceleration? A better alternative? Find an online course in physics or another science that meets the requirement and takes a lot less time than you would spend sitting at a lab table for a semester at your college.
Any courses taught by incompetent professors. If you are arriving on a campus as a freshman, be sure to read course ratings on CollegeConfidential.com and to check out professors online at sites like RateMyProfessor.com. If you find out that a required prof or course at your college is a dud, you can head off the problem by taking that same course online before you arrive on campus, and then get your credits transferred to your college.
Huge lecture courses about western civilization, world culture, the American experience, or other general topics. Lots of colleges and universities herd hundreds of students into these required courses, which are famous for either putting students to sleep or infuriating them. (Your pick.) Many students report that these courses are bearable only if there’s a great lecturer or a great TA to handle the smaller class sections. If required lecture courses at your college get dismal ratings, you might be able to take a history or other world culture class online and knock off the requirement without having to snore in a huge lecture hall.
But Here’s the Good News . . .
Even though lots of colleges require students to take dismal courses, many colleges are offering really interesting classes too. Maybe they realize that if all their courses were boring, students would never apply or enroll?
Some cool courses out there include a History of Reggae and Jamaican Music at the University of Oregon and Introduction to Sports Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. You can even learn African drumming at Hamilton and many other colleges. Just goes to show that learning can be fun if you find courses that speak to you and spark your interest.