Get Educated: 4 Ways to Pick Your College Elective Courses

art history classElectives in college are one of the best educational opportunities available. Outside of your major, you are able to take an extremely diverse set of classes all based on your individual interests. Whether it’s fascination with ancient Roman history or a curiosity about Eastern Asian artwork, there are electives on campus that can help you explore and discover passions you never knew that you had. Here are some tips for making the most out of your elective options and ensuring that you leave college as a well-rounded renaissance student.

1. GET ANCIENT. Even if history isn’t necessarily your biggest passion, taking a class or two on antiquity is a great way to broaden your perspective about life in general. This isn’t limited to your stereotypical history class. You can take classes on ancient literature in Egypt or ancient art in China. You could learn about military strategy or how they built the pyramids. Mythology and religion are other opportunities. There is so much to learn about in the world, and starting with a base of where we all came from is a good thing to do in college. It also will help you make connections with present day news and events. History mirrors itself and even repeats itself sometimes. Understanding different aspects of the historical narrative can be beneficial for the future, and help you to understand there here and now.

2. GET PHYSICAL. Physical Education or P.E. in high school was no one’s favorite activity. That’s because for most it was multi-disciplinary and followed a strict curriculum. While it may have hit on a few areas of interest, most PE classes were probably more of a “have to” rather than want to. In college, it couldn’t be further from the truth. You can dive deep into a subject of your interest. Whether that is a conventional sport like basketball or tennis or something more offbeat like Yoga or Badminton, PE gives you the chance to exercise and clear your mind while doing something you really enjoy. PE isn’t necessarily something that comes to mind when you think of college, but it truly is one of the hidden gems of the elective system.

3. GET TECHNICAL. Technical expertise is one of the keys moving forward in the world. This doesn’t mean everyone has to be a computer coder or build the next Facebook, but having some understanding in regards to technology will be very beneficial as you move throughout your college career. There are a ton of different skills one can learn including movie editing, graphic design, game building, hardware design and more. Such a broad offering of technologically focused classes means that anyone can find some small sliver of interest worth pursuing for a semester.

4. GET RANDOM. Sometimes the greatest classes are the most random ones. Maybe try picking a class just because the name intrigues you or you have heard great things. It could be an improve class or the history of Disney. Getting outside your comfort zone and thinking differently is what college is all about. By following quirky ideas, you can stimulate your brain and think of new connections and perhaps even help you with your major or other projects.

Electives are one of the best parts about college. In addition to studying what you love in your major, you can expand your mind and learn about entirely new things. Make sure to step outside your comfort zone and get diverse with your interests and pursuits.

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Jake Davidson is a Mork Family Scholar at USC and enjoys writing for the school paper as well as participating in various clubs. He has been tutoring privately since the age of 15 and is incredibly excited to help students succeed on the SAT.