Skip to main content
Skip Navigation

How to Choose High School Electives

At most high schools, students get to take elective classes. These are classes outside the required curriculum that you get to choose. You may find elective classes in subjects such as art, music, journalism, computer programming and business.

Taking elective classes can give you a chance to:

  • Explore your interests.
  • Lighten a demanding class schedule.
  • Have fun studying something you love.

Your electives can show colleges your interests and skills.

Tips for Choosing Electives

How can you make the most of the opportunity to choose elective classes in areas of interest? Keep the following tips in mind.

Pursue Your Passions

Follow your passions when choosing electives. Taking a class in an area you enjoy or want to learn more about can be fun and help reduce stress. If your school doesn't offer the classes you want, check out the course offerings at local and community colleges.

Maintain Balance

Handling four or five core courses each semester doesn't leave a lot of room for extras. Some schools offer elective courses — such as journalism or band — that complement your extracurricular activities. Classes like these can reduce your after-school time commitment, giving you more time to study.

Try Something New

Taking a class that will introduce you to a completely new subject or that is more advanced than your usual classes is a great way to challenge yourself and stay motivated throughout high school — you may even discover a new talent or interest.

College-Application Benefits

Choosing your electives well can also help you when you apply to college. Here are some things electives can help you do.

Take Courses Colleges Recommend

Did you know that just taking your school’s required courses may not be enough to satisfy college admission officers? Some colleges, for example, want to see that you’ve studied fine art or taken four years of a foreign language in high school.

To make sure you’re choosing the right elective classes, take these steps:

Show Colleges Who You Are

The electives you choose tell colleges something about you. If you take several electives in a certain area, for example, you can show your interest and skills in that subject. Or your electives can show that you have wide-ranging interests or that you like to tackle challenging work.  

Strengthen Your Transcript

One of the most important pieces of your college application is your high school transcript. Admission officers want to see that you’ve earned strong grades in challenging classes. If you choose electives in areas you’re excited about and will work hard in, that interest and effort will show in your grades.

 

Recommended

Expert Q&A

Paul Weaver , Dist. Director of Counseling and Guidance, Plano Independent School District

Colleges look for students who have challenged themselves in high school. See some of the many opportunities you have to expand your horizons.

Activities outside the classroom can give you new skills and perspectives. They also reveal things about you that grades and test scores can’t.

Find colleges to add to your college list.
Find colleges to add to your college list.
Find colleges to add to your college list.
Find colleges to add to your college list.
Find colleges to add to your college list.
Find colleges to add to your college list.

$JS_name_

$JS_cityState_
Drag a college here to save it to your list.
Find colleges to add to your college list.
Welcome!

Most March SAT Scores are now available. View Scores .