What Is an Elective Class?
One of the best parts of high school or college is the option to take what’s known as “elective classes.” For many students, this is the first opportunity they’ll have to choose specific classes to take, rather than have their entire schedule decided for them. However, there’s more to it than just choosing any classes you want. Here are some things to consider and the answer to what is an elective class.
What Is an Elective Class & Types?
Electives are optional courses you can take for personal or academic enrichment. These classes give you credit hours toward graduation but may not apply to a specific degree or program.
In some cases, you will need to select electives within a specific category in order to satisfy degree requirements. For example:
- A high school student must choose fine arts elective to graduate
- A college business major must take a finance elective to earn a degree
- Some electives may have prerequisites or corequisites
High schools and universities set these parameters to ensure students master certain concepts and are exposed to a range of ideas.
What to Consider When Choosing High School Electives
How do you choose the right electives as a high school student? Should you simply take whatever classes sound fun?
There is no hard-and-fast rule here. If pottery sounds fun to you, by all means, take it! But keep in mind your needs, passions, and long-term goals, and you should be able to come up with a list of electives that are best for you.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Challenging electives might impress college admissions staff
- Easier electives could boost your GPA or give you more time to dedicate to core classes
- Additional core academics can open dual credit or AP opportunities to alleviate your time in college
No matter what, you should always speak to your guidance counselor about your elective choices. It’s also important to keep in mind what universities might expect. Remember that meeting your graduation requirements doesn’t guarantee admission into any school.
Finally, organizations like the National Honor Society have rigorous requirements that may impact the electives you choose. Student athletes should also take note — the NCAA may have different academic requirements for eligibility than your high school does for graduation.
What to Consider When Choosing College Electives
Every university operates slightly differently when it comes to electives, and various academic departments may require different classes for any given major. Your electives should first align with your requirements, but when choosing the rest of your electives, ask yourself these questions:
- Will taking this class help me choose my major?
- Does this class contribute to a useful skill I want to master?
- How will this class look on a graduate school application?
- Am I going to enjoy this class?
- If I have limited time for electives, is this class the best choice?
- Does this class help me with a minor or specialization?
- Who is teaching this class?
- Will this class put me behind schedule for graduation?
Talk to your advisor or department head, especially if you are in your last year or two of college. They can offer helpful advice regarding the electives you should take.
Help with Challenging Electives
Don’t shy away from an elective that challenges you. Did you know that some universities value a B in a difficult class more than an A in an easy one? Always remember that help is available for those tough classes. Just contact the team at Jantzi for tutoring assistance.