Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, July 10, 2013
Becoming a young conservative activist doesn’t just happen because you serve on the leadership board of a political organization at your school or had a Hill internship that one summer. It also comes from studying hard and preparing yourself in the classroom to be the best possible activist you can be after graduation.
Unfortunately, the high cost of education today coupled with the lack of available jobs for college grads makes it more difficult for the next generation of conservative leaders to truly get their start in the movement. Having certain skills that you can only get from your college classes, however, will help make you one cut above the others and give you a better chance of obtaining your dream job – and help you get on the path to political stardom.
With that in mind, Red Alert Politics has assembled a list of eight college courses that every young conservative should take while in school to better prepare them for life after college.
1. Freshman English
Even if you were able to test out of Writing 101, every college student should still enroll in at least one semester’s worth of writing. Writing is one of those skills where practice really does make perfect, and being able to write a good research paper is a skill that you will always use regardless of your chosen career path.
Being financially savvy is key to surviving today’s tough economy, and having a basic background in economics will go a long way toward that.
3. Public Speaking
Even if you never expect to have to speak in front of hundreds of people as part of your job, taking a public speaking class will help you with your on-the-job confidence and ability to communicate with others.
4. Campaign Management School
If you have the opportunity to take a course in how to run a political campaign – or get involved in the political movement – do so. Several schools, including American University and George Washington University in Washington, D.C., offer courses on the practical tools, including polling, messaging and strategy techniques, and fundraising, behind politics today for a small fee. The Leadership Institute also offers trainings in campaign management several times a year.
As an AU/CMI alum myself, I can tell you from personal experience that this was by far the course that has helped me the most in my professional career.
5. Western Civilization
Not only does a class like Western Civ give you insight into American foreign relations, but it helps explain why countries – including the U.S. – are the way they are and how their histories shaped what the world is like today.
6. Digital/Video Editing
In today’s world, where the news is reported 24/7, you never know when you’re going to come across something breaking. Having the ability to know how to properly use digital & video cameras, and then edit and upload your pictures and videos to the Internet in a timely manner can make all the difference at times.
7. Political Philosophy
As with Western Civ, understanding the basic principles of political theory and how they developed over time will give you a better understanding of how government works. Plus, you never know when being able to name drop Locke or Rousseau may come up – in an interview, at a bar or even on a date!
8. Language class
Knowing a language – any language – well enough that you can reasonably speak and write in that language will help immensely when it comes to future job prospects. Many companies even scout specifically for people fluent in a particular language, especially Chinese, Arabic and Spanish.