How Do I Choose the Best Elective Courses?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Elective courses provide credit toward a degree or diploma but are not a mandatory part of the program. Instead, you can select them based on your personal interests and their connection with your career goals. For example, you could choose electives that increase your knowledge of a particular field or allow you to study a side focus of a career you're considering. Sometimes, you may even choose electives based on how challenging they are, as taking more difficult courses might help you impress admissions counselors and future employers.

An academic advisor can help students choose the best elective courses to suit their interests.
An academic advisor can help students choose the best elective courses to suit their interests.

One of the most important considerations in choosing the best elective courses is deciding which classes interest you the most. Electives are classes that are not a mandatory part of a degree or diploma program. They provide you with an opportunity to pursue your interests. For example, you may want to try a drawing or painting class if you are a math major or take a business class if you are an art major. Electives can provide you with additional skills you can use while in school and after you graduate, and help you obtain a well-rounded education.

The major you've chosen may also influence your decision when you want to choose the best elective courses. In many cases, it is beneficial to choose electives that are closely related to your major. If you are an engineering major, for example, you will likely have a range of engineering courses you are required to take to earn a degree. You can choose to take engineering-related courses as electives as well. Choosing to do so might better prepare you for a career in this field and impress future employers who inquire about the classes you took in college.

Your future goals may also affect your decision when you are trying to choose the best elective courses. You can use your electives to focus on a specific area of study in an otherwise general major. For instance, if you are pursuing a music degree, studying psychology or counseling as an elective might help you prepare for a music therapy career. If you are studying medicine, you may choose an elective that focuses on a specific area of medicine in which you are particularly interested. Likewise, if you are a biology major, you may decide to pursue writing-based elective courses in the hopes of becoming a science writer.

If you are choosing high school elective courses, you may also want to consider how admissions counselors at colleges will view your transcript. Elective courses can provide an opportunity to take challenging classes that extend beyond a basic high school education. By excelling in such challenging courses, you might draw more attention from admissions staff and have a better chance of them noticing and approving your application.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


I remember how during my freshmen year of college, I couldn't make up my mind on what I wanted to major in. I knew which elective courses I needed, but finding my major was a completely different story. Later, during my sophomore year, I settled on a communications major. However, I soon changed it to psychology because I found communications way too "hard".

Soon, I dropped psychology again, and changed it back to communications. Anything we want to pursue in life isn't going to be easy. However, that makes it all the more worthwhile, right? Just because our goals can be difficult to reach, and just because things may not go the way we expect them to, that doesn't mean we should give up following our dreams.


As the article (indirectly) states, choosing the best elective course solely depends on what you're passionate about. However, like most things, that could change over time. I remember when I was little, I wanted to go to law school. However, when I went to college, I wanted to be a chef. During my sophomore year, however, I finally settled on psychology. It just goes to show that one's final decision isn't always their "final" decision. Things change over time.

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