Circus Arts, DJ Workshop, Maple Syrup & Other Weird College Classes

You aced the ACT. You survived the college application process and the long, breathless wait for acceptance letters. Now that you know where you’re going, you can take a deep breath, relax and look through the course catalog. Should be pretty standard stuff, right?

You find the usual language, math and science classes, but what’s this? You can take a Vinyl DJ Workshop? You can learn to spin vinyl, create your own mixes and be the life of the party? That’s different. The Vinyl DJ Workshop, held by Oberlin College is just one of the unusual and strange classes and workshops offered by colleges and universities throughout the United States. Even the most prestigious schools offer classes that are more than just a little offbeat.

If you have ever thought of joining the circus, the Circus Arts class at Triton College might be the right choice. Learn magic tricks, polish up on your unicycle riding skills and, best of all, learn to be a clown. If speaking is more your style, you can learn Elvish, the language of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” books, at the University of Wisconsin. Temple University explores America’s reaction to UFOs. The course covers everything from the military response to UFOs to cult followers.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers a plethora of unusual classes. Furniture making follows the history of furniture making and gives students a hands-on experience using woodworking techniques. Another unusual MIT class is the Street Fighting Mathematics course, designed for students who just have to know how to mathematically measure the velocity of a punch to the face. Students interested in comparative media learn all about American pro wrestling, explore its cultural history and delve into the media industry that surrounds it. Home Economics gets an upgrade in MIT’s Kitchen Chemistry class. Hands-on cooking experiments demonstrate chemical principles, including phase changes, denaturation and extraction.

Alfred University, a private school in Alfred, New York, asks the question, “Superior beings: if they exist, how would we know?” Students apply gaming theory to find the answers. Another Alfred University offering is the course on the art of being a tightwad. Students learn how to be frugal and spot the trappings of capitalism. If you have a sweet tooth, you can learn all about maple syrup and its history in Alfred’s Maple Syrup: The Real Thing class.

Philosophers tackle the toughest question of all in the Rhode Island School of Design’s The Meaning of Life class. For a different approach, sign up for The Anthropology of Magic, Witchcraft and Religion class at Moorpark College. If golf is your game, the Golf Course Management class at Tarleton State University might be for you. Students who like to get their hands dirty do that and more in Santa Clara University’s Joy of Garbage class. The course is a pungent in-depth study of odors and decomposition. Last but not least, Columbia College in Chicago offers a Zombies in Popular Media class designed to keep you up at night.


Bad Grades? You Can Still Get Into College

Going to college can’t be just a dream. People with college degrees have greater job satisfaction and make more money than those who don’t. Unemployment hits those with only high school diplomas harder than the college educated. So clearly college isn’t a dream, but a necessity. If you are a student who has a history of bad grades, you might think that going to college is an unreachable dream. It isn’t. You can take practical steps now to improve your academic skills, no matter what your age, income bracket or academic level, get into college and earn a degree.

Do This First

Be honest with yourself. Evaluate your skills, examine your grades and decide where your academic weaknesses lie. Standardized tests are part of every school’s curriculum and are useful tools that help you determine which areas you need to work on. If you are still in school, ask your guidance counselor to help you build a game plan designed to bolster your knowledge and skills.

Hit the Road Running

Working with a tutor is one of the best ways to improve your skills. The individualized attention and emphasis on student needs, instead of a set curriculum, is an excellent way to delve intensely into a subject and learn it from the ground up, if necessary. If you are in high school, ask about school-sponsored tutoring programs. Many communities, such as Louisville, Kentucky, and its Educational Justice program, offer specialized tutoring services for low income and disadvantaged students at little or no cost.

Another great way to test the college waters and build a strong academic foundation despite poor grades is to enroll in classes at a local community college. Community college classes provide an ideal experience that not only bolsters academic skills, but also gives you a taste of college life. Small class sizes and an individualized curriculum encourage learning. Scholarships and financial aid programs are usually available.

It’s Time for a Change

It’s important to remember that just getting into college is not the ultimate goal. If you haven’t earned good grades in the past, whether it was because of family difficulties, illness, distractions or a lack of motivation, now is the time to change. Learning is not about filling your head with facts so you can pass the next test. Working with a tutor, going to community college classes and studying are all steps you need to take to not only to get into college, but also become a successful student once you are there.
Keep in mind that college admissions officials won’t only look at grades and standardized test scores when they evaluate your application. They will see the poor grades of your past, but they will also see the steps you took to change the past and improve. Their job is to accept bright students who are most likely to succeed. Your job is to become one.

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville Helps Kids Build Their Own American Dream

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville knew all about the American Dream when he came to the United States from Israel. The idea that people can achieve happiness and prosperity through hard work is held by countless immigrants and native-born alike. What Ohayon discovered, however, is that there is a disparity in America that seems to betray the dream.

As a volunteer tutor at local community centers, Ohayon found that many of the students had decided disadvantages when it came to competing academically. Sadly, many students felt the American Dream was inaccessible to them. To combat the disparities, Ohayon founded the nonprofit Educational Justice, whose mission is to provide underserved students with equal access to educational opportunities and to the benefits that higher education bestows.

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville Gives Back to the Community

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville moved to the United States with his parents when he was eight. Coming from Israel and settling in a new country was a struggle at first. In spite of the struggle, Ohayon’s parents, both of them teachers, instilled in him a burning desire to learn and excel. Ohayon worked hard in school and was accepted at Columbia University, where he pursued a physics degree. It was in college that he experienced what it was like to not measure up. What he thought was a solid educational foundation had some holes that put him at a disadvantage. But Ohayon overcame his gaps and set about helping others who experienced the same disparities. Ohayon spends much of his time as a volunteer, tutoring underserved students in Louisville in an effort to counteract the effects of educational inequity.

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville Supports Tomorrow’s Leaders

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, Kentucky, is an educator and entrepreneur. After earning a physics degree from Columbia University, he settled in Louisville. Perceiving a lack of choices for parents and students in the region, he founded the Louisville Tutoring Agency (LTA) in 2005. A thriving business, the Agency tutors students of all ages in a variety of subjects to help them get better grades and excel in their high school coursework, on standardized tests, and in college and beyond. But because not all students can afford services like those offered at LTA, Ohayon founded the nonprofit organization Education Justice to address the needs of disadvantaged students. Meeting Ohayon, it is immediately clear that helping the less fortunate is his life’s passion. Fortunately for the Louisville community, he has dedicated his business savvy and civic-mindedness to build brighter tomorrows.

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, Kentucky, Helps the Less Fortunate

As a student at Columbia University, Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, Kentucky, experienced the reality of learning gaps firsthand. Although a good student with a strong academic background, he discovered that he had to play catch-up when it came to keeping up with his peers. With a strong support system that included his parents, who were teachers, he was able to overcome the disparities and excel. His experience left him with a profound desire to help those who are less fortunate. While still at Columbia, Ohayon began tutoring students who were struggling and today he continues to volunteer, helping the less fortunate in the Louisville region.

Biography: Moshe Ohayon of Louisville

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, Kentucky, was born in Israel. His parents were teachers before immigrating to the United States when he was only eight. The family struggled after coming to the U.S., but Moshe’s parents instilled in him a love of education and the determination to succeed. Ohayon did well in school. As a young adult, he attended Columbia University in New York and later served in the Israeli army.

Working toward a degree in physics at Columbia, Ohayon discovered that he had significant gaps in his educational background, but worked hard to catch up to his fellow students. Once he did, he become part of a tutoring program and began to help younger students who were struggling with their coursework. Ohayon discovered that he had a talent for tutoring and a strong desire to help. Teaching became his life’s work.

After earning his physics degree, Ohayon settled in Louisville, KY, and in 2005, he opened the Louisville Tutoring Agency (LTA). Continuing his efforts to help the less fortunate, he volunteer tutored at community centers, helping lower-income students meet their educational goals. Seeing the wide educational disparities between the students who attended LTA and those from less-privileged families, he founded the nonprofit organization, Educational Justice in 2010 to close the opportunity gap in education among underserved students.

Ohayon is also the creator of a revolutionary ACT strategy course on and the author of The ACT for Bad Test Takers, which details his innovative new strategy to help students boost their ACT scores.

Ohayon continues to volunteer his services and is committed to helping students succeed, no matter what their backgrounds.

Moshe Ohayon of Louisville, Kentucky, was born in Israel, moving to the U.S. as a child. As an adult, he lives his dream of helping young students succeed academically.