Give up blow-off classes

By Editorial Board

It’s that time of year again, when Columbia students must decide what their daily routine is going to be months in advance. That’s right—course registration. It’s stressful and exciting at the same time as students scramble to get the best classes and famed professors before their peers do. But with the waiting list to see a guidance counselor ridiculously long, many students are left to choose classes on their own. Unfortunately, plenty of them pick their schedule based not on what will further their education, but what is the easiest option.

It’s understandable why students go for the easy, blow-off courses. But the price of a three credit-hour class at Columbia is approximately $4,000. Because most students pay with loans, which accrue interest, that’s a nearly $6,000 class that one must pay off later. It’s time for students to think twice about spending several thousand dollars on a yoga course that they could take at a local gym for $100.

That’s not to say yoga isn’t important, or to single it out as the only class in which students aren’t getting the value they deserve. Yoga has numerous health benefits and can help reduce stress, which is highly beneficial for those in college. The course also isn’t a complete blow-off—the history is taught and homework projects are assigned. But yoga at Columbia does stand as a glaring poster child for waste. Tell students at most other Chicago college that taking yoga nets you three credits and watch them balk at the idea.

Of course, there are numerous other courses that are probably not worth thousands of dollars. In an economy where unemployment is stuck at 9 percent and college grads struggle to find jobs, students should be searching for the classes that will give them a well-rounded education and help them stand out from their peers. Going to college these days is all about getting the most bang for your buck—not floating by and expecting a career handed to you after graduation. These aren’t the good old days.

Students already pay for Columbia’s gym at the Residence Center, 731 S. Plymouth Court, which has recently begun hosting athletic classes. If students are interested in yoga, they should be able to take it there for free, not pay an exorbitant rate that adds to loan debt. That goes for any athletic class; most colleges don’t require gym for a reason, but it’s still great to keep in shape. For Columbia students choosing their classes for the winter semester, take this advice: Choose a course outside of your major, one that you find intellectually challenging. You’re paying approximately $20,000 to attend school here—get your money’s worth.