Benefits of Electives in a School’s Curriculum

Why are Electives Important in High School?

Elective classes are a necessary part of every high school curriculum. Each student is required to take English, math, and science courses as a part of the core curriculum at his or her school. Electives allow students to explore other areas that interest them outside their core coursework. 

Some electives, such as language choices, may be taken for credit towards high school graduation requirements. Other electives consist of courses that don’t earn any credits but still give students an opportunity to learn new skills and subjects they wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. In this case, students typically take two semesters’ worth of the class in order to receive a grade for it on their transcript.

In addition to offering students a chance to go deeper into topics they’ve studied before, electives help students get ready for the future by helping them choose a major. Some courses offer prerequisites that prepare students for continuing studies in certain fields of study such as engineering and law. This is especially important since many universities and colleges want to see at least some indication of why you’re choosing a certain career path before they accept you into their school.

Elective classes can be offered throughout high school although some schools only make one or two available after freshman year, like an additional language class or physical education course. Most schools divide them up between general electives such as humanities, social sciences, and the arts; career-related electives; and skill-building courses such as computer applications and health careers. Others will group their classes by topics such as chemistry, biology, and physics.

Best Electives to Take in High School

Electives are often chosen based on what interests you, which can make it harder to decide what to choose. If you’re unsure about where to start, then try looking into courses that relate to your future plans because these courses will be useful for whatever career you end up getting into after college, depending on the degree or certification required for it.

Some examples of electives that could be beneficial for students planning to attend university include classes such as biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics since they tend to be the four most important areas that most degrees require in order to graduate successfully. This means that taking a variety of science and math courses over the course of high school will give university applications a boost when applying for a program in one of these four disciplines.

Some courses to try out during high school if you’re not sure what direction you’d like to go in yet would include anything related to art or design, which can be useful for careers within that sector. If your chosen career path requires a specific certification then look into elective courses that relate directly so it will be easier to focus on the classes you need over time.

Elective classes vary greatly between high schools so it’s important to speak with your guidance counselor or school website for more information about what electives they offer during your school years.

Some sample electives:

  • Foreign language (Spanish, French, etc.)
  • Physical Education (Weight Training)
  • Music (Band) – Chorus
  • Art (Drawing)

How many electives in high school to graduate?

Most high schools require a minimum of 23.5 credits to graduate, which usually means six classes over four years.

Elective courses are not required in the same way that core subjects such as math and English are so they don’t have a specific number you need to take each year. The general rule of thumb is that electives should be taken in moderation since taking too many can affect your GPA negatively by adding unweighted courses to a schedule. Students also want to be sure that their electives reflect what they personally want to do with their lives after high school or college, if applicable.


When choosing electives, students should try to pick ones they’re genuinely interested in rather than just picking an easy course because it looks better on their transcript. If you’re not interested in learning about it, then there’s no reason to take the course at all. It’ll also be much harder for you to do well if you don’t like what you’re studying because your motivation will suffer.

If your high school offers additional credits for electives that are taken twice in a year, then this is an option to consider when choosing which courses to add to your schedule each semester. You could add two semesters worth of the same course and get a full semester credit out of it rather than just one credit from taking it once a year, giving you more time with other classes in order to graduate on time or early.

Elective classes usually don’t show up on college transcripts so if you’re looking to apply for college soon, don’t worry too much about how many classes you take in high school or what they all are. You can go into additional electives during college if you need extra credits and it won’t be a problem with most schools as long as your GPA isn’t drastically affected by them.

How do students pick electives?

Students usually choose their elective courses based on interests or what’s required to earn a certification or degree. For example, some students who want to become an engineer will make sure to take math and science courses such as chemistry and physics while those interested in performing arts such as acting and dance would make sure to take music and theater courses over the course of their high school career.

The type of elective course you take is not as important as the fact that you enjoy what you’re learning and are motivated to study it, which will make it easier for you to do well in school.

Are electives important in university?

Electives are even less important to consider when applying to universities because you usually won’t need them for your degree. Most people will not pick courses based on their elective requirements unless it’s part of their major or minor, which makes the choice about what classes to take much easier for them.

While you want to make sure that your university schedule is properly balanced with required and elective courses in order to graduate on time if needed, don’t stress out too much over this one aspect of college life because you can always add additional electives later if necessary! Your GPA isn’t typically affected by taking individual classes so there’s no need to try and squeeze every possible course into each semester just so you can get an A grade in each one yet.

Why are electives bad?

Electives are bad when taken too often or if they don’t reflect your interests. Students who take very few electives relative to their schedule may find themselves struggling to graduate on time because the lack of variety in their courses makes it harder for them to stay motivated and focused throughout the school year.

On the other hand, students who overload on elective courses that don’t interest them can end up doing poorly in school because it’s more challenging for them to study since they’re not interested in what they’re learning about. This will lead to a lower GPA which can make applying for jobs or college extremely difficult, especially if you need good grades on your transcript in order to get accepted.

Best Entertainment Electives in High School

As an example, students who are interested in becoming actors or actresses should obviously take acting classes over other options because this is what will get them noticed by casting directors when applying for roles. On the other hand, students thinking about pursuing a business degree may want to consider taking marketing courses since this skill set could come in handy when pursuing their career path after graduating from university.

Is it possible to have too many electives?

High school electives pros and cons


Yes, it’s possible to take too many electives during high school because there are limitations on how many classes you can take each semester. If you overload on courses then not only will you fail to graduate on time but your grades may also be affected by the fact that you’re overloaded with work and it’s more challenging for you to handle so much over a 12-month period.

If at any point in time during high school you find yourself struggling with classes due to the number of them that you’re taking, whether before or after entering senior year, consider dropping one of your elective courses early rather than until later if necessary. This will give you more time to serve your suspension and will also be easier for you to focus on other courses that are necessary for graduation, especially if you can’t afford to repeat a grade because it extends the amount of time it takes you to graduate.

Is there anything I should avoid when taking elective courses?

Yes, there are certain types of elective courses that may not be worth pursuing simply because they’re not useful for getting into university or landing jobs after graduating from high school. For example, computer programming classes tend to be very challenging so unless you’re already very skilled with computers then this type, of course, could be wasted time since it’s unlikely that employers would need someone with these skills in a full-time position.

When in doubt about what electives to take in high school, speak with your guidance counselor or another adult in a position of authority over you to see if they have any suggestions. If not then look at requirements for whatever certification you’d like to receive after graduating from high school and consider taking related courses that will be useful when applying for university programs or getting jobs afterward. In the end, it’s much easier to narrow down your choices based on what coursework is needed when compared to trying to figure out all the possibilities before starting high school.