7 Best Video Channels To Give You a Head Start Next Semester

By the time Christmas has come and gone, you’ve probably watched so much crappy daytime TV and terrible holiday specials during the course of your winter break that you’d welcome anything that didn’t feature a sassy judge or a talking snowman. Why not use your remaining hours to keep your gray matter from totally atrophying? We’ve picked seven video channels that target either specific areas of study or more general aspects of college life that you can use to get a head start on your next semester’s classes, without being bored to death in the process.

  1. History: How Stuff Works:

    As far as we know, every college student has got to take a history class at some point. You could tune in to the History channel’s video feed for advance “learning,” but knowing the finer points of being a pawn star or a swamp person is not really going to help you get ahead academically (or culturally, for that matter). What will come in handy, though, is having checked out the vids on this cool site produced by the Discovery Channel folks. No matter what topic strikes your fancy — World War II, ancient Egypt, Chinese dynasties — there’s enough footage to make you an amateur historian by the end of winter break.

  2. Business: The Economist:

    We were all set to give the nod to the “Financial Thought” series by OSU’s Fisher College of Business, but we ultimately decided the channel of this authoritative magazine could speak to a wider range of business students. You young entrepreneurs don’t need a subscription to get a serious leg up on your peers, just a weekly visit to the site to hear informed economic takes on subjects that will no doubt crop up in your classes. Offerings of just the last week include discussions of what health care, energy, big data, and capitalism and society will look like in 2013. With a few bits of wisdom you gather here sprinkled into classroom discussion next semester, everyone will know who the curve-breaker is.

  3. Engineering: Engineering.com:

    Yeah, yeah, we get it — real creative of us to recommend a site as on-the-nose as Engineering.com for getting ahead in engineering. But have you seen some of the offerings for websites named for schools subjects? It’s easy to get … not what you’re looking for. This site (which is actually the home base of over two dozen channels), however, gets it right. Spend some of your winter break time watching the videos on parametric modeling, the latest in CAD, engineering how-tos, principles, and projects, and more, and you’ll be bursting with new ideas by the time the first day of class rolls around, while your classmates are still mulling over the syllabus.

  4. Languages: Evan der Millner:

    The driving force behind Latin-learning blog Latinum, der Millner is a veritable linguistic maestro. On his YouTube channel you’ll find thorough courses in Latin, French, and English for everyone from beginners to advanced speakers. If you’ll be setting foot in a Spanish class, an English class, a literature class, any class with medical terminology, or (obviously) a Latin or French class next semester, you will have given yourself a huge boost by watching some of his videos. Latin may be a dead language, but its influence is felt across the academic spectrum; who better to receive instruction in it from than a guy in a tuxedo shirt and ascot?

  5. Technology: CNET:

    Every college student needs a way to stay knowledgeable about new devices, apps, tips and tricks, and more. And as there are so many solid choices in this category, it was a photo finish. TechCrunch puts out some fascinating clips about developments in the world of electronics, and Mashable is a reliable source of tech trends to watch, especially in education. But for consistent, practical videos that can often be digested in 60 seconds, our vote goes to CNET. From the how-to videos on using your new tablet, to tips on protecting your privacy on Facebook and Instagram, to possible upcoming tech stories in the “Rumor Has It” section, this site’s channel should have a guaranteed spot in your video lineup.

  6. Job Searching: Ken Sundheim:

    If this coming semester is your final one of college, you may have already begun meeting with employers in search of your first “real-world” job. If you’ve been putting it off because you doubt your interviewing skills or just aren’t sure where to begin (and you prefer to learn at home rather than at your school’s career services center), let Ken Sondheim be your guide for successfully launching your job search this spring. As the CEO of recruiting firm KAS Placement, Sundheim makes it his business to know the best techniques for job hunting, interviewing, negotiating salaries, and bringing out your entrepreneurial side. He averages about a video a week, so take a day every seven to find the latest uploads.

  7. Health: College Health Guru:

    Healthy living is not something you pull off overnight, especially if you’ve developed some bad habits over your last semester(s) of college. And, speaking of college, the stress and busyness of the first week of classes is enough to throw the best-laid health plans into semester-long disarray. The time to work on changing your lifestyle is now, and the Health Guru is here to help. Boasting “the largest health video library on the web,” the channel will guide you through the process of eating better, exercising more, having safer sex, and keeping depression and anxiety at bay.