Choosing Electives

Whether they’re tied to a specific major or not, electives allow us to expand our education by taking courses that lay outside set requirements.

Since we can choose these classes ourselves, there’s no reason that they shouldn’t be the highlight of every semester. Here are some options to consider when making the choice.

Take a fun class.
If your upcoming semester is tough, soften the blow with something easy and enjoyable. Take a beginner’s course in a familiar area to reduce stress while still building up your GPA.

Test the waters.
Electives are great for those who are looking for a minor or considering a second major. If you’re having trouble deciding, use your electives to experience different majors firsthand. There’s some risk involved because you may get stuck with some difficult courses, but it’s worth it.

Get some exercise.
If it seems like you can never find time to work out, force yourself by taking an athletic class. Many colleges provide courses like aerobics, weight training, tennis, stretch and relaxation, swimming, volleyball, basketball and basic dance courses—all of which will keep your body healthy and your mind sharp.

Take a class you need.
In this case, “need” doesn’t mean a required class. Think about your personal weaknesses and where you need improvement. If you have a hard time writing essays, take an essay workshop. But your choice doesn’t have to be based on deficiencies. If you want to start reading books again, take an English novel course and you’ll have five or six titles under your belt by the end of the semester.

Follow someone.
A course can be about the people too. If you made some friends last semester, get in touch and arrange to take another class together; or maybe you enjoyed a certain professor so much that you’d like to take another course with him or her.

Remember…
The semester shouldn’t be too easy or too difficult. Balance out your electives with your required courses so that easy classes contend with tougher ones.

While choosing electives requires plenty of foresight and self-reflection, it allows students to expand their education beyond the regular routine and to explore courses based on their own needs and desires.

The choice is significant because a well-picked elective can change the semester’s entire atmosphere.

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