Electives are one of the best parts of college — you can finally take that class in underwater basket weaving or sign language that you’ve always wanted to try. But with so many options, it can be hard to decide which ones to take.
There’s a balance to strike between your interests and what’s actually useful. The aforementioned underwater basket weaving might be fun, but is it really going to help you in your future career?
On the other hand, you don’t want to spend all of your time taking classes that you hate just because they’re practical. Being miserable is no way to spend four years (or more!) of your life.
In this article, you are going to learn what makes some electives better than others. We will also explore some fun electives that will still be useful in your future career. And last, we will give you a list of the best electives to take in college, no matter what your major is.
Whether you’re looking for an easy A or trying to gain some useful skills, this guide will point you in the right direction. So let’s get started!
How to Pick the Right Electives
Before you start signing up for classes, it’s important to think about what you want to get out of your college experience.
Are you there to party and have a good time? That’s perfectly valid! But if you’re hoping to land a job after graduation, you should focus on taking courses that will help you in your future career.
For example, if you’re hoping to go into marketing, taking a course in graphic design will be more useful than one in Ancient Egyptian History (no matter how interesting that topic may be).
Some students are undecided about their future and just want to explore different options. In that case, try to take a mix of classes — some that will help you figure out what you want to do and others that are just for fun.
You may not think that your English Literature class will be useful in the real world, but it will teach you how to read and write critically — a skill that is useful in any field. Same goes for Computer Science while you’re studying for a business degree. It might not look useful on the surface, but it will teach you how to think logically and solve problems — two qualities that any employer is looking for.
You can also use your electives to fulfill requirements for a minor or double major. For example, if you’re getting a degree in Biology, you could use your electives to complete the necessary coursework for a Chemistry minor.
Here’s what you should look for when picking electives.
Consider Your Interests
One of the best parts of college is that you finally have the freedom to study whatever you want. If there’s a topic that you’ve always been interested in, now is the time to explore it!
You can take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about something that you’re passionate about. For example, if you love fashion, you could take a course in fashion design or history.
Not only is this a fun way to spend your time, but it can also be useful in your future career. For example, if you want to work in the fashion industry, taking courses in design and history will give you a leg up on the competition.
You can also use your electives to explore different careers. If you’re undecided about what you want to do after graduation, taking a few classes in different fields can help you figure out what you’re interested in.
For example, if you’re interested in law, you could take a course in criminal justice. Or if you’re interested in medicine, you could take a course in human anatomy.
This is a great way to get exposure to different careers and see what you like (and don’t like) before you have to make a decision.
Finally, consider your interests outside of academics. If you’re a musician, you could take a music appreciation class or join the college choir. Or if you’re an athlete, you could join the college intramural sports league.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to electives, so don’t be afraid to try something new!
Weigh Your Options
Once you know what you want to get out of your classes, it’s time to start weighing your options.
Consider the workload of each class, the professor’s teaching style, and whether the subject matter interests you.
You should also think about how the class will fit into your schedule. If you’re a morning person, you might want to avoid classes that are scheduled for early in the day.
And if you have a job or other commitments, you’ll need to make sure that you can fit the class into your schedule.
Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you should have a good idea of which classes you want to take.
So go out and explore the world of electives! With so many options available, you’re sure to find something that interests you.
The 10 Best Electives to Take in College
To make this list, we considered a mix of enjoyability and usefulness. We asked ourselves: “what classes will be the most fun and also give you skills that you can use in the real world?”
The reason for this criterion is that everyone knows what electives are useful for their future career. And everyone knows what electives are utterly useless but fun to take.
What not many people know is the electives that offer a solid mix of both. These are often electives that give you general skills that advance your worldview. You’ll finish these electives and not only have a great time, but feel like you’ve also accomplished something.
Here are the best electives to take in college:
1. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
Classes that teach you how to think critically and solve problems: These classes will help you develop two very important skills that employers are looking for. And if you’re undecided about your future career, these skills will help you no matter what field you end up going into.
Problem solving is the foundation of business, and really it’s what makes us human. We encounter a problem, analyze it, and come up with a solution.
In the business world, there are entire teams dedicated to doing nothing but coming up with solutions to problems. And if you’re good at it, you can make a lot of money doing it.
Critical thinking is closely related to problem solving, and it’s also a skill that employers value highly. Critical thinkers are able to see both sides of an issue, and they’re not afraid to challenge the status quo. Also, critical thinkers are less likely to be scammed or taken advantage of.
A lot of people avoid history classes like the plague, but they’re actually really interesting and useful. History classes teach you how to think critically about the past, and how to see both sides of an issue.
They also teach you about different cultures and how they’ve changed over time. And if you’re interested in a particular culture, you can learn about its history in depth.
In addition, history classes can be really fun. You get to learn about all sorts of interesting people and events, and you get to hear about different interpretations of those events.
Be careful though. Your mindset heavily influences how much you get out of an elective in history. If you’re there just to memorize dates and names, history is completely useless. If you’re there to understand how the past is shaping the present, and study the underlying causes for what happened in the past, then you’re doing it right.
Philosophy classes are another great option for those who want to think critically and explore different viewpoints. In philosophy, you’ll learn how to analyze arguments and how to spot fallacies.
You’ll also learn about different ethical systems, and how to apply them to real-world problems. If you’re interested in law, philosophy is a great way to prepare for it.
Philosophy is also useful for those who want to go into business. Many businesses use ethical systems to make decisions, and understanding different ethical systems will help you make better decisions.
Finally, philosophy is simply interesting. It’s a chance to explore some of the deepest questions about life, and to hear what other people have to say about those questions.
4. Creative Writing
Creative writing classes are a great way to express yourself, and to learn how to communicate your ideas. In creative writing, you’ll learn how to structure an argument, and how to use words to persuade people.
You’ll also learn about different literary devices, and how to use them in your own writing. If you’re interested in a career in writing, creative writing is a great way to start.
But even if you’re not interested in a career in writing, creative writing is still a lot of fun. It’s a chance to be creative, and to tell stories that are interesting and enjoyable.
Also, if you think about it, writing permeates our life. We write emails and messages on social media all the time. Also, you write your own CV/resume, and when you sprinkle some creativity on it, it becomes more interesting to read.
Marketing is another great elective for those who want to go into business. In marketing, you’ll learn how to sell products and services, and how to reach different markets.
You’ll also learn about different marketing strategies, and how to use them in the real world. If you’re interested in a career in marketing, this is a great way to start.
But even if you’re not interested in a career in marketing, marketing is still a useful skill. It’s a skill that you can use in your personal life, to sell yourself and your ideas. And it’s also a skill that you can use to get ahead in your career.
For example, if you’re applying for a job, being able to market yourself will give you a big advantage. You’re always selling something in your daily life — be it your skills while looking for a job, or your ideas to your boss.
This might be the most boring elective on this list. Unfortunately, it’s too useful to just pass up.
In the modern world, data is everything. And statistics is the best way to make sense of data. In statistics, you’ll learn how to collect data, and how to analyze it.
You’ll also learn about different statistical methods, and how to use them in the real world. If you’re interested in a career in data science, statistics is a great way to start.
But even if you’re not interested in a career in data science, statistics is still a useful skill. It’s a skill that you can use to make better decisions in your personal life, and it’s also a skill that you can use to get ahead in your career.
For example, if you’re applying for a job, being able to analyze data will give you a big advantage. And if you’re looking to make a major life decision, statistics can help you figure out what’s the best option.
And last, some people use statistics in a dishonest way. But when you understand statistics you can avoid getting fooled by these people.
7. Web Design
Web design is a great way to learn how to build websites, and how to design user interfaces. In web design, you’ll learn about different web technologies, and how to use them.
You’ll also learn about different design principles, and how to apply them in the real world. If you’re interested in a career in web development, web design is a great way to start.
But even if you’re not interested in a career in web development, web design is still a useful skill. It’s a skill that you can use to build your own website, or to make money by freelancing.
And last, web design is also a lot of fun. It’s a chance to be creative, and to build something that people can use.
8. Personal Finance
This course should be mandatory in all high schools. But unfortunately, it’s not.
In this course, you’ll learn about different financial concepts, and how to apply them in your own life. You’ll learn about saving money, investing money, and spending money wisely.
You’ll also learn about different financial products, and how to use them. And last, you’ll learn about financial planning, and how to create a budget.
This course is useful for everyone, regardless of their financial situation. If you’re in debt, this course can help you get out of debt. And if you’re already financially stable, this course can help you become even more financially stable.
Also, this course is interesting by default — money is a big part of our lives, so knowing how to manage it is a valuable skill.
Food is our fuel, and knowing how to eat healthy is a valuable skill. Plus, you’ll know how to make the most out of the food you buy, improving your consumption. Less waste, more bang for your buck.
In this course, you’ll learn about different nutrients, and how they affect our bodies. You’ll also learn about different diets, and how to choose the right one for you. And last, you’ll learn about food labels, and how to interpret them.
This course is useful for everyone, regardless of their diet. If you’re trying to lose weight, this course can help you make better choices. And if you’re trying to eat healthier, this course can help you figure out what’s the best way to do that.
Also, this course is interesting because it’s all about food. Who doesn’t love food?
10. Foreign Languages
Learning a foreign language is a great way to open up new opportunities.
In this course, you’ll learn about different languages, and how to learn them. You’ll also learn about different cultures, and how to interact with people from those cultures. And last, you’ll learn about different language learning methods, and how to choose the right one for you.
This course is useful for everyone, regardless of their language skills. If you’re a beginner, this course can help you get started. And if you’re already proficient in a foreign language, this course can help you become even more proficient.
Also, this course is interesting because it’s a chance to learn about another culture.
Editor’s note: as for which language to pick, it’s up to your interests. Spanish will always be useful in the USA, but learning a less common language like Arabic or Mandarin will make you stand out more.
Those are just a few of the best electives to take in college. There are many other great options out there, so explore and find what interests you.
So there you have it: a comprehensive guide to the best electives to take in college. No matter what your interests are, there’s an elective out there for you. So explore and find what interests you.
The electives on this list will be useful in your life even if you end up doing a job that doesn’t need them. They’re also interesting for that exact reason. It’s not some abstract knowledge that you’ll never use. They’re subjects that affect your life every day.
And remember, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself. College is a time to learn and grow, so make the most of it!