YouTube Channels for Students
These five vlogs range from helpful to hilarious, but they’re all worth your time.
By Josephine Werni, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
For your convenience, I’ve organized this list in order from most helpful to least helpful. Enjoy.
If you’ve ever wanted a speedy yet comprehensive tutelage of a school subject, then CrashCourse is a channel that is 100 percent worth taking a look at.
Created by brothers John and Hank Green, CrashCourse features a vast collection of 10-15 minute video lessons that are applicable to both high school and college levels of learning.
John tackles subjects like literature, philosophy, history and politics, while Hank explains facets of biology, chemistry, physics and psychology. With two B.A.’s in English and Religious Studies, a B.S. in environmental science and an M.S. in Biochemistry between the two brothers, they’ve got the credentials.
In the channel’s trailer, John responds to the question of why exactly he and his brother go to the effort of making CrashCourse videos and what their intended purpose is.
“We don’t really have a coherent answer,” he says. “We’re just trying to make educational content in the hopes that it will be useful to people.”
The subjects of the videos range from basic overviews to specific concepts and pieces of literature, making them handy in a number of situations. My freshman year of college, I remember scanning several videos from the arithmetic playlist the night before classes started so that I could avoid looking like an idiot for having a less than satisfactory grasp of basic mathematics. Whether you’re trying to avert embarrassment or feed your mind a little casual brain food, I’d advise all students to give Crash Course a chance.
The channel is one of several offshoots of John and Hank’s main channel, Vlogbrothers. If you’re into timely discussions of current world events, philanthropy, music and random peeks into John and Hank’s personal lives (plus so much more that would be too long to list), then you might dig the Vlogbrothers channel as well.
2. How to Adult
Akin to CrashCourse, How to Adult is another branch of the expansive Vlogbrothers tree. Hosted by Emma Mills and Mike Martin, the How to Adult channel serves up fruitful advice that is flexibly applicable to pre, current and post college adult-y life.
How to Adult explores nearly every mysterious nook and cranny of adulthood, armed with the purpose of educating its audience on the sorts of topics that aren’t covered in school. The channel features monthly themes, such as relationships, employment, housing, taxes, finances, cleaning and mental health.
The videos on How to Adult are styled similarly to CrashCourse in that they are typically between 10-15 minutes and strive to supply the viewer with as much info as possible in a way that’s entertaining and easy to understand.
Although Emma and Mike recently announced that they would no longer continue producing new content for How to Adult, the channel sits on 96 videos worth of golden guidance. That’s enough to teach you a new thing or two and keep you busy for a while.
From How to Adult to Katherout, there is a shift in this list of YouTube channels as a step is taken “downward” in terms of how and why these videos are being developed.
While the channels under Vlogbrothers are professionally produced and employ working adults, Katherout and the following individuals would fall under the other category of “traditional YouTubers, by which I mean young people who make informal videos for fun about things they are interested in.
Katherout, for example, is a channel created and run by college student Katherine Berry. Katherine first began uploading videos as a hobby in 2011 and is currently going into her third year of studying business at USC.
Her content consists primarily of college lifestyle videos, which are filmed in a casual, conversational manner. Watching Katherine talk in her dorm room about college food hacks and the things she wishes she would have known about college before her freshman year feels like you’re just sitting and having a chat with a friend.
Though they would be considered less professional than CrashCourse or How to Adult, Katherine’s videos are still polished and organized. It’s also worth noting that she manages to upload regularly both during the summer and while she is attending school full time.
4. Rachel Whitehurst
While Katherine Berry’s college lifestyle videos are relatively polite and put together, the same can’t be said for Rachel Whitehurst. Which isn’t a bad thing, by the way. In contrast to the bright, bubbly, high definition material that Katherout serves up, Rachel’s original five part college advice series was filmed on her laptop’s built in webcam.
In her videos, Rachel curses with abandon and discusses matters such as hookups and how to poop discreetly in communal dorm bathrooms. Beneath the profanity and grainy pixels, the series contains some solid advice on a lot of subjects that people are afraid to speak about openly. Following the college advice series, Rachel uploaded a Q&A in which she answered miscellaneous college related questions that hadn’t been covered.
Rachel’s college advice series was originally uploaded in 2011, but she has continued to put out college related videos sporadically since then. Some of these include passionate rants about the weird kids in her classes, and others are calmer discussions on affairs such as budgeting, confidence, and dealing with debilitating mental illness while in school.
Last but not least is FenCheeks, a channel created by recently graduated Kristen Fenchak. While all of the previous channels on this list impart genuine help and advice to college age people, FenCheeks finds its stride in parodying those sorts of videos and college life in general. So, if you find serious college lifestyle videos like Katherout’s to be a tad unsavory, you’ll probably take a shining to Kristen’s content.
Kristen’s sketches on both current and post college life are exceptionally clever and #relatable. Two of my personal favorites are the Five Stages of Grief: Finals Week and T’was the Night Before Halloween (College Edition).