Tag Archives | courses

Image by COD Newsroom, Flickr

Image by COD Newsroom, Flickr

While college is a natural step for many students after high school, it is also a time filled with uncertainty concerning a future career. If handled properly, the college experience can be one filled with exploration and discovery as to what passions a student truly possesses. Very often, many students find their way into careers they never dreamed of, simply due to taking a certain class or joining a campus organization. If you’re in search of some different paths that may prove to be unique, consider these options.

Yes, You Can be a Philosopher
Contrary to many popular opinions in today’s high-tech age, the world still needs plenty of people with critical thinking skills who can see situations from many different viewpoints. No college degree gives students these skills more so than philosophy, which can lead to numerous career paths. Some graduates wind up as CEOs of major corporations, while others join the Peace Corps and are off to see the world. Whichever path you choose, a philosophy degree can prove to be very beneficial.

An Unconventional MBA
While most people believe earning an MBA is a safe choice of degrees, it can also be made very unique along the way. For example, students who earn an MBA in information systems can take their training not just to Wall Street, but to many other areas as well. Due to the ever-increasing threats to national security, more and more law enforcement and government agencies are recruiting people with backgrounds in business and information technology to assist with intelligence analysis and much more. If you’ve dreamed of being a special agent or a spy for a specific organization, this degree path just might get you there.

The Worldwide Medical Degree
For students obtaining a medical degree, most career choices come down to working in a hospital or entering private practice. However, some students have very different ideas for their training. Some choose to travel the world to help the poor through such organizations as Doctors Without Borders, or use their training by moving to rural areas to assist those in need.

If you find yourself struggling with finding the ideal path to take while in college, consider these options and many others as well. While many people leave college with similar training and skills, it is those who march to the beat of a different drummer who eventually wind up changing the world for the better.

This article was contributed by guest author Rachelle Wilber.

Image by inbal marilli, unsplash.com

Image by inbal marilli, unsplash.com

Most college students’ greatest fear is that they’ll wind up trapped in a job that has no meaning and leaves them completely uninspired for the entirety of their careers. While that’s definitely plausible and has happened to many, it doesn’t have to be the case. Regardless of your interests or location, there are plenty of jobs that make a difference in people’s lives, and you can start your journey toward one by considering one of these four degrees.


Healers have always been revered among their communities not solely for their ability to save lives but also for their continuous efforts to improve it. In our modern society, these healers are doctors, surgeons, nurses and anyone else who works in the medical field. You can earn your Bachelor of Science in Medicine and go on to med school if you dream of working at the top of the industry, but you can also break into the workforce faster by earning an associate’s degree in nursing.


Just as important as our physical health, our mental wellbeing needs professionals like psychologists and counselors. By studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology, you’ll gain an invaluable understanding of the human mind and all its inner-workings. Individuals with a social work master’s degrees or other related degrees are very common in the psychological field of medicine. This knowledge and expertise can prepare you for a career such as a psychologist, counselor or social worker – all of whom help people better comprehend their emotions in order to lead happier, healthier lives.


Each young generation is the face of the future, and each generation needs passionate teachers who are willing to commit their time and energy into passing on valuable knowledge. One of the greatest things about earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in education is that you will be able to truly diversify your own higher education. Teachers come from all walks of life and teach all sorts of subjects, so whether it’s regaling the world’s greatest literary works to high schools in your hometown or teaching English to underprivileged kids in third-world countries, a degree in education is one way to guarantee that your life will leave a lasting impression on another.


Police officers are the defenders of our communities and heroes who are prepared to lay down their lives if need be. But police officers aren’t the only ones who benefit from a degree in law. There are dozens of careers in law that range from environmental conservation to human rights, and you can be as directly or indirectly involved with the public as you like. The one thing that doesn’t change across the board is the impact a career in law leaves on the world.

Finding Your Dream Job

Thinking back on people who shaped your life growing up and the causes closest to your heart will help point you in the right direction when choosing a degree. What’s most important to remember is that regardless of how many years you study and what career you choose, the people who leave the greatest impact on others’ lives are the ones who work honestly, diligently and are 100 percent committed to their job’s mission. When you have a true passion for your work, it radiates from you, and it’s inevitable that your love for what you do will leave a positive mark on others over the course of your career.

This article was contributed by guest author Rachelle Wilber.

Image by Joe Flintham, Flickr

Image by Joe Flintham, Flickr

Ever since you were young, you’ve wanted to teach others. You couldn’t wait to stand up in front of the classroom and tell everyone about your area of expertise.

But did you know that you don’t have to stick to the usual English, Math, and Science degrees to pursue a teaching career? Check out the following unique degrees and see how they help you further your education skills.

Movement Therapy

Can’t decide between dance and psychology? Why not do both? Movement therapy encourages participants to express emotions and feelings through movement. With a movement therapy degree, you’ll learn how to help individuals of all ages improve their self-esteem and body image, enhance their communication skills, and gain insights into behavior patterns. Movement therapy will also give you a powerful tool for managing stress and preventing physical and mental health problems.

Forensic Archaeology

Can’t seem to pull your students away from their favorite crime shows and murder mystery soaps? Give them a hands-on approach to science through forensic archaeology. Forensic archeologists and anthropologists use geological and geophysical surveying techniques to investigate crime scenes. With your degree, you’ll be able to explain how experts can date items in grave sites and preserve vital evidence, such as paint flakes, hair, and clothing. You’ll also have in-depth knowledge of how certain materials degrade or decompose over time in given circumstances, such as clothing buried in loose soil.

Military History

As a history teacher, you likely know your dates and facts for important wars and revolutions. But when you earn a degree in military history, you take that knowledge one step further. As a military historian, you’ll study both ancient and modern warfare and their effects on various cultures. You’ll also discover strategies and techniques military tacticians and theoreticians relied on throughout history. With a degree in a military history graduate program, you’ll be able to give your students a deeper, more engaging lesson on history and provide intriguing historical viewpoints that will leave them excited rather than bored.


You probably grew up watching Sesame Street and other Jim Henson creations — and many of your students will likely do the same. So how can you use that shared background to your advantage? A degree in puppetry will teach you how to craft your own puppets and perform with them. You’ll also discover tried-and-true techniques for writing scripts and shows that will appeal to audiences of all ages. With your own puppet on hand (so to speak), you can help your students feel more comfortable in the classroom, whether they need help making new friends or studying for a test.

These are just a few degrees that will supplement your courses in teaching education. Feel free to branch out and try something creative to round out your knowledge and skill set.

This article was contributed by guest author Rachelle Wilber.

Image by CJ on Flickr

Image by CJ on Flickr

As a university student, you will often find yourself doing a lot of soul searching. I know it sounds cliché, but take it from someone who has been there – it’s completely, one hundred percent true. If your only experience with such deep meaningful moments is from watching teen dramas, be prepared for a shock. These “experiences” are not going to give you the answers you’re looking for; in fact, they usually just leave you with more questions. Your soul searching starts with the big picture stuff: Who am I? What am I doing here? What do I want out of life? and usually then devolves into something along the lines of: Should I order food? Can I take a Netflix break? Both? Yes, both is good.

Once again you are content with life. You don’t know if it is the mild food coma or the comedy you have decided to binge watch, but sometimes it is better not to question the universe. That is until your half hour study break has become a three hour marathon. Then comes the panic. You know what you’re doing is wrong, but you can’t stop. Another episode goes by. Panic gives way to shame and self-doubt. I’m just not cut out for this. It’s 2 am. I should just go to sleep. The books lie there, taunting you. I hate (insert subject here). Have you ever considered that maybe this isn’t your fault? Maybe you aren’t a terrible student. Maybe you’re just in the wrong major.

Does this story sound a little too familiar to you? Then it’s either time for a change of academic focus or an intervention for your Netflix addiction. How do you tell the difference? Well if this downward spiral is really due to your lack of interest in the subject matter you’re studying, you are probably also doing most of the following:

  1. Skipping class. Sleeping in or missing lectures to do other work doesn’t count. I’m referring to the “I literally can’t remember the last time I went” kind of skipping, which only means one thing: you are not interested.
  2. Having trouble staying on task. You find yourself easily distracted when you sit down to study. Your Facebook account is always one tab away. Your cell phone is in your hand. Your jammed stapler is suddenly fascinating (before and after you have taken the time to unjam it).
  3. Searching for the motivation you used to have. The work ethic you had in high school seems almost superhuman. Now just the thought of doing anything class-related is exhausting. You usually take a nap instead.
  4. Anything but your readings. If you haven’t opened the textbook you nearly bankrupted yourself to buy, your prognosis for the rest of the semester is not looking good. Yes, some students pride themselves on acing classes based on lecture notes alone. But if this is really something you are passionate about (which it should be) you will want to read more about it whether the material is testable or not.
  5. Procrastinating. While I have yet to meet a student who has never put anything off until later, it is not the act itself that should raise red flags but the reason behind it. Pulling an all-nighter to finish the paper you had no time to start until the last minute because of all of your other obligations is the norm. However, purposefully doing anything else to avoid working on your assignments until is almost impossible for you to complete them on time might be a sign that this discipline is not for you.
  6. Enjoying your electives more than your required courses. These are the lectures you show up for every single week. Not only are you actually prepared and engaged but you leave looking forward to the next class. Take a step back and you will probably see that most of the classes you choose to take of your own free will fall under a certain branch of academics. Maybe this is what you should actually be getting a degree in.
  7. Letting your grades slip (and surprisingly not caring). You are intelligent. You have made this far in the education system and you are so close to having something to show for it. Don’t sacrifice your GPA because you could care less. Trust me; there are enough challenging courses that will be more than willing to drag it down for you (even when you are studying something you love).
  8. Avoiding opportunities you should be pursuing. Contrary to how it might appear, most universities actually want you to be employable. They benefit if you get hired and excel. This creates an incentive for them to provide avenues for their students to gain real work experience. However, it is still up to you to make the most of these opportunities. Being reluctant to search them out and apply is often the first sign that you are not serious about your future as a (insert subject here) major.

Image by www.audio-luci-store.it on Flickr

Image by www.audio-luci-store.it on Flickr

Almost two million high school students take the ACT college readiness assessment every year. ACT reports that two thirds of ACT tested high school students choose a major that does not fit their interests. Choosing the wrong major will result in the student taking extra classes, spending more money and wasting time. Here we outline the four best resources for choosing the perfect college major – one that fits you:

Career Counselors
It is an unfortunate fact that many high school students do not take advantage of their school career counselor. The time to visit a career counselor is at the beginning of high school, not the end. Career counselors can help identify your interests, evaluate your abilities and explore different career options. Most importantly, they can help you set obtainable goals for high school and college and create an action plan to reach these goals.

Online Resources
The internet offers thousands of college guide websites, many of which are loaded with ads and irrelevant information. The U.S. Dept. of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics offers the College Navigator as a resource to help students. This search portal allows students to search for schools by state, program, degree level and institution type. There are also additional resources, such as career advice and financial aid information.

Online Academic Programs
Choosing the perfect major is more than just choosing the right program or career. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that over 20 percent of students take online courses. Browse the courses offered online to see which ones fit your interests. Online degrees have some advantages over classroom-based teaching, as they are typically more affordable, convenient and flexible. They also reduce commuting needs and save time. Online schools offer the benefit of being able to study your ideal major from the comfort of your home. For example, it is entirely possible to obtain an online master’s in civil engineering (MSCE) through Ohio University. Being able to study online, while working full time and staying socially active, is a win-win situation.

Federal Student Aid
The U.S. Dept. of Education’s Federal Student Aid website allows students to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many students have limited finances and their choice of school depends on the financial aid available. The FAFSA application is very user-friendly and easy to complete. Students can research which colleges or universities they wish to attend and simply enter the school codes during the FAFSA application process.

In conclusion, some of the best educational resources for students choosing their major include a high school career counselor, online college guides, FAFSA and universities that offer online degrees.

This article was contributed by guest author Anica Oaks.

Image by UBC Library Communicationson Flickr

Image by UBC Library Communicationson Flickr

One of the biggest mistakes an undergraduate can make (and most do) is to assume that once the academic term ends and you are physically removed from campus, you can mentally distance yourself as well. As much as we all might want to turn off and fall back into the summer routine of our youth, the one thing they never tell you is that even though you are not technically in the classroom (unless you elect to take summer school of course) that doesn’t mean you don’t have work to do. One not-so-pleasant way most institutions remind their students of this reality is by scheduling the designated time to select courses for the upcoming year right in the middle of this well-deserved break. Thanks to the internet, most of this process is now done remotely, but just because you can do it while lounging in your bed doesn’t mean that you should (or that it will be any less stressful). The key to course selection success is to prepare ahead of time. When your diploma is riding on admittance to certain classes, you are going to need more than luck to secure that last spot. You are, at the very least, going to need to avoid making these all too common mistakes.

1. Not Checking Your Program Requirements. No matter what discipline you have elected to study, there are going to be certain courses that are mandatory in order for you obtain your degree. The majority of these classes will fall in your first and second year and if you have chosen a double major or added a minor (or two), creating a workable schedule may require some creativity and compromise to achieve the right balance. However, don’t worry too much if you can’t fit everything in. Most programs have a bit of leeway and will allow you to take some of these courses in upper years when you will have more scheduling flexibility.

2. Ignoring the prerequisites. That said, often programs are structured in such a way that taking introductory courses paves the way to allow you to take more advanced classes in later years. Therefore, some courses may not be accessible until you have taken certain others (aka prerequisites). So before attempting to enroll in a course, especially if it is not in your year or area of study (e.g. any elective), always make sure that you have successfully completed all the mandatory prerequisites. The administration is usually very vigilant about this and despite what you have may heard from those who claim to have slipped under the radar, you can and usually will get kicked out. By the time this happens the rest of the classes you are actually able to take will likely be full.

3. Creating Only One Perfect Schedule. At most schools your first year courses are virtually selected for you, leaving most people woefully unprepared for the amount of choice they will have in the following years. However, as course selection gets more complex it puts you in the driver’s seat and gives you the ability to tailor your class schedule to your interests and time preferences. Yet even if you are able to build the perfect timetable, you will have to come to terms with the fact that due to forces beyond your control, you may not be able to get into every class you want. The best way to avoid getting thrown off-balance if (when) this occurs is to prepare for such a scenario beforehand. Choosing decent just-in-case courses and making a few different but compatible schedules will allow you to approach the process with some much needed confidence.

4. Enrolling in Courses You SHOULD Take. Now this may seem like a contradiction considering the advice above, but what you need to realize early in your undergraduate career is that there is a big difference between courses you HAVE TO take and those you feel you SHOULD. As stated previously, in every program of study there are classes that are nonnegotiable – those are your HAVE TO courses. Your SHOULD courses are those that you may feel pressure to sign up for regardless of what you may really think about the class. This could be the class that all your friends are in, the one with the great professor or that everyone says is a real GPA booster. Regardless of reason, never take a course that doesn’t spark your interest. You will end up resenting it no matter what everyone else says and often your grades with suffer as a result. On the flip side, if you feel compelled to take a class that is known to be obscure, difficult, or boring, don’t let other people’s opinions sway you in a different direction. They don’t know you like you do.

5. Not Seeking a Second Opinion. While there is usually no downside to going with your gut, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t investigate your choices further. Learning as much as you can about the professor, the marking scheme, and the specific topics covered in the class is never a bad idea (an old syllabus is typically very helpful on all fronts). The more informed your decision, is the happier you are likely to be with it by the middle of the semester. While friends and classmates are usually good primary sources, their own personal bias may get in the way of them being able to give you the objective assessment you need. In the end, a simple Google or Reddit search may be enough to solidify your selection or push you to look for an alternative.

Image by Michael Kumm on Flickr

Image by Michael Kumm on Flickr

Pursuing a master’s degree can be a very rewarding experience. The challenge of earning your master’s degree not only makes you a better-rounded individual, but opens the door to higher earning potential and better job offers. If you’re planning on getting your Master’s degree and are considering the different courses of study available to you, check out our seven reason to get a Master’s degree in American History:

1: Versatility

A master’s degree in American history can be applied to a wide array of professional fields. Whether you want to go into research, writing, government, publishing, banking, or teaching, this degree will help you get there.

2: Competitive Advantage

The careers listed above are just a few of the many careers you can pursue with a master’s in American history. Regardless of your chosen field, earning this degree will give you a significant leg up on your competition in the applicant pool. Many hiring decisions are made by very slim margins, and showing your ability to think critically while working diligently is your opportunity to separate yourself from the competition.

3: Wide Knowledge Base

A master’s in American history will give you a legitimately wider knowledge base that will prove useful in daily occurrences. Being able to draw from factual information and events in America’s history will enhance your performance at work. For instance, the degree can make a lawyer more persuasive, or a broadcaster more accurate.

4: Pay Increase

Not only will you be a more attractive job candidate, but you’ll be better compensated as well. Studies have shown that completing a master’s degree in American history will earn you a higher salary than other humanities degrees.

5: Specialization

A master’s in American history offers various areas of specific study that allow you to explore your intense interests, whether that be a specific period in American history, studying presidential history, or any other segment of the country’s past.

6: Skill Development

Your coursework will challenge you, but it will help you develop and sharpen your skill set, from critical and analytical thinking to writing and comprehensive skills. You will grow both personally and intellectually.

7: Reduced or Free Tuition

Master’s programs usually offer stipends for students that cover most of if not all tuition fees. So, not only will your degree earn you a higher paycheck, but many times you can earn the pay bump for little to no cost.

For those interested in furthering their education, earning your master’s American history offers a plethora of benefits, and is a truly rewarding experience.

This article was contributed by guest author Lizzie Weakley.

Image by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography, Flickr

Image by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography, Flickr

Summer is almost half over and school is right around the corner, which means more studying, more exams, and more assignments. Before you get to all of that, you’ll have to choose your classes. Some of you have probably already gone through this process and are now registered in your selected classes. Whether you are already prepared or haven’t even thought about the next year of school, the following tips will hopefully guide you toward choosing courses that you are satisfied with and work best for you.

1. Check your start time for course enrollment.

First things first—make sure you have the correct time and date noted for the start of course selection. Some schools such as the University of Western Ontario have already begun the process of admitting students in classes through web registration. Other institutions such as the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto require students to check their start time during a certain period as well as actually enroll in classes during that start time. Faculties often differ on their dates and requirements for course registration, so make sure to double check with your faculty.

2. Check any requirements that need to be fulfilled.

Each faculty as well as any major, minor, or specialist program needs a number of different categories to be fulfilled or classes to be taken. In addition to this are the requirements for a degree laid out by the school at large. For example, the Faculty of Arts and Science at U of T requires students to fulfill a Breadth Requirement, meaning that students have to take classes in 5 different categories including “Society and Its Institutions” and “The Physical and Mathematical Universes.” Make sure to choose classes that fulfill both the requirements of your specific program as well as any more general requirements.

3. Create multiple schedules with back-up courses.

Many of you might have a list of classes in mind that you would love to take. However, many classes fill up quickly and have a limited number of seats available. As a result, a good idea would be to have back-up classes on hand in case your plans don’t pan out. Make sure you think you’ll like or at least don’t mind these classes—you don’t want to be stuck studying something you hate. In addition, create schedules for both your ideal classes and your back-up ones—they create a great visual, as selecting courses for different time slots can get confusing. This way you can also make sure that there are no scheduling conflicts, and it is easy to see how a typical week will go once school actually starts.

4. Keep your plans for after the summer in mind.

Some of you may have extracurriculars or a job during the school year, or plan on getting involved with activities outside of school. If this is the case, be sure to take on a reasonable course load that will hopefully make it easier to balance the different aspects of your life. If you have a job, are the head of a club, and want to have time for friends and family, don’t take on a maximum course load if you think it’ll be too much for you.

5. Check for information about potential classes or professors.

There are resources online through which you can learn more about courses you want to take. Websites such as CourseMate provide ratings from students on things such as course workload. Some schools also collect student evaluations of courses that are then compiled into information for future students. For example, the Anti-Calendar produced by the Arts and Science Students’ Union at U of T is a collection of evaluations on courses and instructors in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Another site for information on instructors is Rate My Professors.

The sheer number of classes available may seem overwhelming at first, but with good planning it can become much easier. Good luck, and hopefully you’ll get the courses and professors you want!

Image by Steven S., Flickr

Image by Steven S., Flickr

My first year of university was an overwhelming experience. York University’s Keele campus has over 55,000 students, and my faculty alone has 27,000 students. It’s easy to get lost, figuratively and literally, in such a place.

I learned an important lesson during first year that would help me not just in school, but in life in general. As a political science student, it was recommended that I take an introductory macroeconomics class. This class was during my second semester, and I felt like I was settling in well: I had already taken four classes and had no major problems.

However, the wheels started coming off when I started macroeconomics.

The professor had assigned 25% of our final grade to be completed online with three tests. Unfortunately, I had missed the lecture when he let us know this.

Another lesson learned for another time.

Our top two scores from the three tests would count toward our final grade. I missed the first test, and had to bank everything on the second and third. However, when the time came, I could not log into the program used to take the test. I chatted online with the website technical support staff for hours trying to solve my problem, but I never found a solution. I didn’t really pursue it anymore after that – I thought I could still pass even with the wasted 25%.

I ended up not completing any of the online tests, threw away 25% of my final grade – and failed the class.

What did I learn from this? Get help when you need it. I hadn’t experienced any problems before this class, and I was unsure about how to get help. I was intimidated to approach the professor in a class with over 200 students. I was scared, and that cost me financially (I had to repeat the class) and wasted my time.

I really do believe that if I talked to the professor about my problem, he would have worked hard to help me. Professors are there to help their students. Don’t make the same mistake I did of being intimidated by them. First year can be tough for some students, but don’t make it more difficult by putting up barriers. I also should have spoken with the department counselling service to see if there was anything they could do.

I look back on that class and think that I could have passed the first time if I had asked for help when I needed it. I learned my lesson quickly, which prevented similar problems from occurring in the future, and I was able to move on from it and eventually succeed.

I repeated the same class a year later and passed with a solid grade. Now I don’t hesitate to ask questions, seek out help and connect with professors.

Video courtesy of the Toronto Star

You’ve sat through countless lectures in high school and college/university. Guaranteed, there was at least one lecture where you asked yourself (or in some brave cases, the professor), “When will I ever use this in the real world?” With the fast pace of modern society, students are feeling like they don’t have time to spend learning content they won’t find useful. Many teachers and professors have begun to understand this need, and some are even tailoring their classes to combat it.

Take, for example, the Tourism, Sport and Leisure Marketing class at the Schulich School of Business (York University, Toronto, Canada). Recently profiled by Morgan Campbell in the Sportonomics series for the Toronto Star, the group project for this class is to respond to a real-life issue affecting a pro sports entity. Various companies sign on to work with instructor Vijay Setlur in designing a case specific to their company’s needs. Each group in the class is assigned a company and a corresponding case, and is tasked with pitching a plan of action not only to classmates, but to executives from the companies.

Morgan Campbell interviews Stephen R. Brooks, VP Business Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, in the video above. Brooks says,

An opportunity like this where the Blue Jays can come talk to not only bright businesspeople with great ideas, but also people in our age demographic that we’ve been trying to focus on, is a terrific opportunity to get that one-on-one feedback from them.

And thus we see the merging of classroom assignments with the real world. These students are given the opportunity to tackle an issue that perhaps may not even be presented to younger staff in a company; one that may be reserved for top executives behind closed doors. A case like this empowers students to not only come up with creative yet feasible ideas, but receive feedback from people with a front-row view of the challenges in their company. It’s an eye-opening assignment that pushes the class to really think about what they’re doing; eliminating the “who cares, it’s just an assignment” approach and adding the “I need to make a good impression because I want to work for this person one day” initiative.

When selecting your courses for the upcoming semester, keep your eyes open for ones that offer real-world experience. It’ll give you the opportunity to be excited about an assignment and will add value and credibility when you’re ready to find your first job out of school.

View the Toronto Star article here.