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Choosing The Right College Electives

Written by CB Community

For many of us, choosing a college can be a difficult task. There are so many universities in locations all throughout the country, and each one specializes in something different. You may even be considering attending college online, rather than a brick and mortar institution. Once you’ve finally decided on a school, there are even more choices to make. One major decision you’ll have is choosing what electives to take.

Depending on your major, there will be some classes that you have to take. For example, if you’re studying law or medicine, you need to take certain mandatory courses related to those focuses. That being said, there is still a lot of freedom in terms of picking classes you’re interested in. Not only that, but there are certain classes that future employers may look for that will increase your employability. Keep reading to find out what to consider when choosing electives.


There is nothing worse than studying something that you have no interest in whatsoever. If you went to the Lee Strasberg acting school in New York City to study theater, then taking an economics class is probably not so high on your list. On the other hand, communications would better suit your interests and is a class that future employers like to see. Regardless of what job or industry you’re in, you will have to communicate with team members and external bodies, making communications classes highly valuable for all. Realistically, if you’re studying acting chances are you will need to take a communications course anyway.


If you have a full class timetable and work during the semesters, then you need to be realistic when it comes to fitting in additional classes. If you work an hour away from campus and have a two-hour break where you want to take an elective, it’s probably not worth the added stress. In college, there’s immense pressure on everyone to work incredibly hard all of the time. That’s okay. Working hard isn’t a problem, but there is such a thing as burnout. If you experience burnout, it could take months to get properly back on track.


While most electives don’t have entry requirements, there is a good chance that some will be more labor intensive than others. Some electives may have a practical element such as a lab or workshop, while others will have heavy, time-intensive reading assignments. These are important considerations when choosing electives. Everything you do will take up time; no matter how efficient you are, time is limited. Be very cautious when choosing your electives to ensure that you can take on all of the work involved.


Do the electives lead to something tangible? Will you get credits or qualifications for completing the class? Are the credits transferable? These are all important questions to ask. Like it or not, some electives are simply a waste of time. While it sounds fun to take a baking class or study landscape gardening, there’s not always a valid reason to do so. They may be interesting hobbies, but if they don’t help you in accomplishing your academic goals, it’s kind of a wasted effort.


If you’re choosing to take an elective that’s not directly in your school or department, make sure you have access to the resources you need. Some colleges have restricted access to certain materials, or have resources located off-site. Ensure that you have the right permissions to access to these resources, especially if they’re connected with another department. For example, there are certain safety requirements for using science labs or specialized equipment. Without meeting these initial requirements, you would be unable to utilize either or these resources.

Choosing the right college electives is important, but can be complex and time-consuming. There is so much more to consider than the course relevance and your interest level. Be sure to consider factors such as location, commitment, time, and requirements. Be sure to take the proper time and care to weigh your options and choose the elective that’s best for you.

For more awesome College Tips, check out more blogs at College Basics.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.