Follow us:

Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

January 14, 2015 at 5:00 AM

Not your usual 10 tips on how to get the most out of college

William Brown / Op Art

William Brown / Op Art

Advice columns aimed at college students are a dime a dozen, but here’s a “what I wish I knew about college” list that offers a few novel and counterintuitive ideas about getting the most out of the experience, from a Columbia University professor writing on the news website Vox.

Christopher Blattman — he’s an associate professor of political science and international and public affairs — has a list of 10 tips he’s gleaned from his work as a professor. “As it happens, I didn’t follow most of this advice myself, and I could have called this list ‘the 10 things I wish someone had told me,’ ” Blattman wrote.

Blattman suggests trying careers on for size before committing to them, perhaps by doing a summer internship. He recommends studying things in college that are hard to acquire outside of the university setting (statistics, for example). And he also endorses the need to become a good writer, even if you don’t think your career is going to require much writing.

“Being able to take complex ideas and explain them in short, straightforward, plain sentences is a skill you will use, whether you’re a lawyer, salesperson, blogger, or doctor,” he writes.

One surprising suggestion: Blattman recommends taking the minimum level of foreign-language classes. He argues that there are better ways to learn a language, such as through summer immersion or travel before or after college.

What do you wish you had known about college ahead of time? We posed that question to readers last year, and they had plenty to say. Got something to add? Tell us in the comments below.

Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►