Electives: Everything You Need to Know

These are modules that, although not compulsory, lead to students receiving extra credit for their college degree.

Unlike compulsory courses that a student must take up to meet their program requirements, elective courses are taken by choice. This means a student is free to choose the study topics that interest them. Depending on the program, one may even be able to choose electives from other faculties. Typically, the chosen program’s rules specify the number of electives a student can study and where these can be chosen from.

Despite them being optional in nature, electives are quite necessary for a student’s life. Whether it’s in high school or college, electives give students the opportunity to take classes that are beyond a prescribed plan of coursework. Thus, with their choice of electives, students can pursue other interests they may have, which will pave the way for a more “well-rounded” education. Sometimes, electives could help students find subjects that might trigger their interest and encourage them to change the direction of their career based on their newly found interest.

For instance, a student who chooses an elective class in drafting could end up discovering his love of design and engineering. This may lead him to a career he might not have found otherwise. Thus, by helping teenagers explore their interests, learn new skills or hone existing ones, and clarify their career goals, elective courses can act as significant motivators for students.

Be it trade schools, universities, colleges, military recruiters, or employers, almost everyone views electives on a student’s transcript as a testimony to a well-rounded education and a marker of who they are as a person.

Students are often unsure about how to select their electives. Typically, some of the most common electives chosen by a majority are picked up from a small list, which mostly relates to a student’s core subjects (or majors) but allows a little bit of flexibility. For instance, a student majoring in linguistics and interested in the hard science of linguistics can take up classes on neurology and linguistics. But if someone is inclined toward cultural anthropology, he can take elective courses on cultural language acquisition, social aspects of language, and language extinction.

Students can also take their pick from free electives, which aren’t tied to their majors. Thus, a student studying for a degree in English can take electives in history, art, or religious studies to better expand his education.

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