This is inspired by a post of Muir's about what he wants the kids to learn, but I wanted to make it specific to college students.  Because I'm brainstorming for a possible freshman-seminar class, and I'm interested in topics that are important to making educated citizens or at least will be stimulating -- each topic to take a week or two at most.  What do you wish you or yours had learned in college that wasn't covered in regular gen-ed or major? or just a fun topic you think would be of general interest to freshmen (and worth covering)?

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A sort of current issues class would be good. Something important that generations are losing is their interest in what is happening around them and understanding what they can do about it. Something else could be useful would be a life lessons class. Teaching things like how to change a tire, using a power drill, how to register to vote, financial understanding, etc. Just some ideas!!! 

Common sense by Thomas Payne, Ther Federalist Papers, Almost a miracle by John E. Ferling, Socrates, Plato, The Rise and Fall of Rome. My favorite is writtwn by a Christian author and even thought I am not Christian I love it. The 3,000 Year Leap by Cleon Skouson, By far the most profound book that I have ever read. These are books that any young adult should read and help you realise the great opportunities that you were born with being raised in a republic. 

Let's get specific.  What would you do for how to learn or how to read?  Source selection?

By thesis writing, you mean position papers?  What's the old-school aspect?

For bias identification, I can think of Brave New World Revisited; got another idea?  (BNWR proposes bias identification, but doesn't talk about how to do it.)

Having them argue rather than scream buzzwords (or wait for the buzzword-screamers to shut up and give them peace) is pos-def a wonderful goal.

Sounds like some of your training was overclassified.  A number of intelligence analysis text books are available open source (Amazon), including The Thinker's Tool Kit.

"Bias Identification" is a convenient buzzword for knowing that others don't think the same way you do, and you might be wrong.

I agree with your suggestion on syntopical reading.  Although one should not limit the technique to single topic preparation for writing a paper. 

Good stuff.


One place I worked required folks to read at least one daily major metropolitan newspaper, daily.

I'd expand that to reading (at least perusing) the local major metro paper, the local paper (if not identical to the metro daily) and at least one national daily, preferably two from different places on the political spectrum.

Is that to get them to suppress the urge to editorialize and listen instead?

  • How to calculate interest / debt payments.
    • Have them know what they will be on the hook for if the keep getting there current loans.
    • How to estimate calculate retirement savings. 
  • How to cook a simple meal of rice, beans, veggies and eggs.  My wife's student worker did not know how to cook as a freshmen.
  • How to dress like an adult. ~
    • Capsule wardrobe.  
    • Also if you make a suit required for the class and it's tax deductible for the students.
  • How to take notes -
    • Cornell system is great if you learn it early.
  • Resume & Cover Letter
    • Have them build them for 3 of the companies that come to the school seeking their majors.
  • How to use a day planner
  • Time management
  • Organizational skills
  • Healthy, economic cooking

How to get laid.

I wish I had more in school; I was such a dummy that way.

Our college already covers that.  :o


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