YouTube Channels That Will Help (Not Harm) Your GPA

Okay, so you spent a few too many hours on YouTube before your chemistry test and it showed. Before you delete your account, consider this: What if there’s another side to YouTube that could save the day? Yep, that’s right — spending two hours on YouTube before an exam might not actually be the worst idea. However, make sure you keep a few things in mind as you start using YouTube videos for educational purposes.

  • Do not just binge videos. Identify what you want to get out of a video, then find one that will actually achieve this goal. Keep your notes from class out, make flashcards and genuinely interact with the material. Passively watching 10 YouTube videos probably won’t help you learn the material. Using videos as a point for further studying will.
  • Make sure it’s a trustworthy channel. If you’re looking for assistance with a foreign language, maybe try to find a channel by a native speaker. If you are looking for help with a subject at a higher level or in a more specific area, try finding a professor’s YouTube channel. Google specific YouTubers to find out who they are and why you should trust what they’re teaching you.
  • Keep your learning style in mind. Are you a visual learner? Are you an auditory learner? What part of the video do you need to focus on? Different channels have a different focus. Some are more auditory than visual and vice versa. Some have more opportunities to do practice problems or take notes. Know yourself so you can use YouTube videos to your benefit, not detriment.

Now, let’s look at just a few of the educational YouTube channels out there.

First off, here’s the YouTube channel that, no joke, got me through my general education math credit. These videos are relatively short, and they’re awesome. Brace yourself for some serious Dad Joke vibes. Set up as a sort of homework helper or supplement for a missed class, ProfRobBob’s videos generally include a few practice problems, along with a review of main ideas. He usually ends his videos with “Go do your homework!” Follow along, do the example problems and you will be ready to go do your homework.

Tyler DeWitt has an expansive YouTube channel with videos on practically every aspect of chemistry. He uses white paper and markers to illustrate concepts, so visual learners may find his channel particularly insightful. The channel is organized so you can find basic information on different chemistry concepts and videos working out simple chemistry problems. If you are looking for more chemistry help, take a look at the channels Tyler DeWitt follows — they are a great place to start your search for even more resources!

CrashCourse is an excellent channel for overviews of subjects. It’s a particularly great channel if you’re looking for help with general education or 1000-level classes. Astronomy, American government and American history are just a few of the subjects covered. The statistics video playlist is helpful for understanding some of the basic theories and ideas in STA2023. This channel tends to have a goofy and light tone, which helps make studying a little more bearable.

YouTube is a great resource for information and study help for many subjects and classes, but it’s uniquely beneficial when it comes to foreign language classes. As UF French Professor Erin Davis explained over email, “I believe YouTube can remove a major barrier to second language acquisition — that is, lack of access to authentic French audio/visual sources.”

French Today is just one of many French YouTube channels. It’s an especially charming channel as it is run by a French couple with occasional help from their teenage daughter. The videos on this channel focus more on everyday scenarios and spoken French than grammar, but as Professor Davis explained, “For tricky grammar points, students can do a quick search and usually find a multitude of video lessons.” Remember, all these resources exist for other commonly taught foreign languages too, not just French.

All of this is not to say that YouTube should become an extension of your Canvas. Take a break and laugh along with Trevor Noah, the host of the late-night show “The Daily Show.” Don’t underestimate it, though. While you’re laughing along, you might learn a few things about current events, too. Make it a springboard for your own analysis and investigation of the top issues of the day.

The School of Life has videos on diverse topics, but one of the most useful topics of this channel is biographies. The channel features many quick, intriguing and well-done biographies on great thinkers and famous philosophers, such as John Locke and Karl Marx. If you are looking for context on an assigned reading or need last-minute prep for a quiz on a famous mover and shaker from centuries past, this is a good place to look for a speedy biography.

TED is for the life-long learners and true nerds. If you want an interesting tidbit before class or are bored and want to grow your trivia knowledge, the TED Talks are for you. A few personal favorites: What Makes a Hero? by Matthew Winker and Can Art Amend History? by Titus Kaphar.

The Art Assignment is for everyone taking an art history class. It is a PBS Digital Studios channel, and it has videos on everyone and everything from Andy Warhol to the debate surrounding public funding of the arts. If you need more art history resources, the Museum of Modern Art also has a great YouTube channel with a particularly amazing video on the confusing process of lithography.

Allison Bickerstaff’s channel is relaxing and inspiring, and while it won’t necessarily help you complete your calculus homework, she has lots of videos on college life, making it in “the real world,” backpack reviews, day-in-the-life videos, fashion tips and so much more. Plus, she’s a Gator graduate, so you gotta love her!

As all these channels show that YouTube is an amazing resource. Who knows, if you already like watching YouTube videos, maybe these channels will help you like studying more, too!