We all know a person who is a bit… extra (in a good way). For me, that person is a friend. He is multi-lingual, has lived in multiple countries, works for the United Nations, knows how to cook, dance, and is an amateur boxer. How has he gotten so awesome, you ask? He has used every single opportunity to learn that was presented to him to his advantage. Here’s a hint: you can, too.

How? Your elective courses! Enrolling in these extra credits is required, but how you fulfill them is largely up to you. Read below for some tips on how to use your electives to become a little extra.

Become Bi/Tri/Multi-Lingual

Because of our rapidly changing world, this remains one of the most useful and important skills you can gain. Foreign language is often required for a bachelor’s degree, but do yourself the favor and use your electives to further your fluency. Why?

  1. To actually speak the language.

Let’s be honest. Taking introductory courses to language doesn’t help. Being able to say “Hola, me llamo Kelley” isn’t going to cut it. You need more to really be able to communicate. Using your electives to take higher level courses can help!

  1. To open doors.

Speaking a second or third language gives you the ability to travel and understand other countries and cultures in a much deeper way. Language and culture are linked, and events in history shape language. To really appreciate the history and culture of a place, knowing the language is key.

Need another plus? When you can speak someone else’s language, you can make friendships that are built on more than hand signals and google images. Now that’s #deep.

Study abroad or Pick up a minor

When you study abroad, not every class you take will count for your core classes at home. Don’t worry! Many parts of your experience abroad can be counted toward your electives. Make sure to pass this by your advisor beforehand.

You can also use your electives toward declaring a minor. This is an official recognition of the time and energy you’ve put into learning a skill. Keep reading for some skills you could study.

Be the only one

Want to stand out in your career? Learning skills that are not typical to your field can make you an asset to companies. For example, a social worker who isn’t afraid of data and an engineer with people skills are two rare circumstances. In each case, that applicant would probably stand out in a pile of resumes.

What are some skills/courses to take that could help you look amazing?

  • Statistics
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Coding
  • Language
  • Counseling psychology
  • Art
  • Graphic Design