Who says all college courses have to be hard? Try some of these lighter electives instead!
Picking your perfect class schedule needs a lot of consideration and planning. But going beyond the courses needed to complete your major, what about electives? These classes are the perfect opportunity to take a break and explore some subjects or skills outside your major. Unfortunately, not all electives are created the same! This is why we decided to make a list of the top electives on our list based on how easy and fun they can be!
Group Guitar or Piano
Who doesn’t want to learn a new instrument? How about doing it with your BFF by your side? Group music classes are an awesome way to unwind and pick up a fun skill you can show off at the end of the semester. Typically students in these classes have little-- or no-- experience on a guitar or a piano, but that that’s what makes it so much fun! There’s no pressure to learn everything perfectly, and no professor is going to judge how well you sight-read in these classes. By the end of the course you’ll be able to say you can not only read music, but you can probably play a couple of tunes for your friends as well!
Speaking of music, there is a ton of music electives you could pick from, such as music appreciation, jazz theory, or film music, but none are more fun than world music courses. You’ll love hearing and experiencing different sounds, instruments, and folk music from different cultures. Students typically learn about musical traditions, influential musicians, as well as typical performances of music from cultures as diverse as Bali, France, and Ethiopia..
It’s a great way to not only learn how music is made all over the world, but it also shows students how people bond and connect over music, and how important it is in the community. Music might truly be the world’s language!
Improv or Acting
Skip Public Speaking and take an acting course instead. Although it might seem counterintuitive, acting or improv can be less intimidating, especially if public speaking makes you want to run for the hills. Intro to acting classes usually have a couple of people on stage at a time, depending on what type of production the professor is directing for the semester, so you most likely will not be standing there alone with all eyes on you.
A lot of people have a fear of being center stage, but with an acting elective, you’re encouraged to find a way to express yourself that makes you feel comfortable. It will definitely teach you a lot about your body, mind, and emotions, plus it’s a great way to build confidence and maybe get to act some lines you’d never say in public!
If this course isn’t already required of you, sign up now! If you ever wanted to understand how people think, and how emotions and chemical hormones can affect personality, this is your class! It’s perfect for understanding how other people think and act, and we promise you’ll use what you learn in your workplace.
Although not the primary focus of the course, PSYCH 101 will typically touch on some super interesting topics that fall under the umbrella of abnormal psych. Here you will learn about the diagnosis of different kinds of psychoses, and how our understanding of these has changed throughout history-- which is all completely fascinating!
Most schools require some physical education courses, so there’s a ton to choose from that falls in this category. Not to worry, this won’t be like P.E. that we all had to suffer through in high school. In college there is a much greater variety of classes that fall under this heading, so if you’re into yoga, choose a class where you can get your sweat on, but also learn useful meditation and relaxation techniques.
Have you always wanted to ride horses like in the movies? Well now you can! A lot of campuses have a riding team, and for a small fee, you can learn to ride a horse too. Even if your high school didn’t have an archery or rowing team, chances are your college does and that an intro class would count towards your requirements. Choose something you’ve never done before and chances are you might just find a new hobby.
We all secretly dream of telling our story, or creating beloved characters and storylines, so why not get a head start from a professional? These classes challenge you to create stories that you might not have dreamed possible, and may force you to step out of your comfort zone. This can be an incredibly freeing feeling, and you may find yourself writing things you never considered doing such as poetry. Sometimes professors give prompts, but a lot of the time you are given free reign to create any kind of story that you choose.
It’s also a great class to learn how to give-- and take-- constructive criticism from your peers. In creative writing classes you will be reading the works of your peers, and they will get to read yours, so be prepared for that as well. Creative writing is the elective to take if you love blogging, journaling, or storytelling.
In recent years there has been a push to develop personal finance skills earlier in a student’s career, but taking a college elective in this subject will probably prove to be most beneficial to you in the long run. A lot of young students just don’t get the financial management skills that are crucial to having a healthy relationship with money, credit cards, and debt.
Even if you’re not a finance or business major, these are life skills that you’re learning in this class, and will help you out after you’ve graduated. Hey, it may not be the most interesting elective, but it will be used in your future, especially if you have student loans to pay back. So stay ahead of the game and know what to expect after you graduate when you have to start worrying about loan payments, rent, and even retirement!
Grab the popcorn! Film studies may sound like you’ll be trapped in a movie theater, but in reality, you’ll watch movies critically and learn how your favorite shows are made. It’s an extremely interesting way to see how society can influence films, as well as how stories and actors can have a behind-the-scenes influence upon society as well. By viewing a film through an analytical lens, you may see things you never considered before, or would have never grasped without the direction of a professor and class discussion.
There are all kinds of interesting types of specific film studies, such as noir, sci-fi, foreign, or cult-- so find one that sounds interesting to you and sign up. You will not only learn something new, you might just see some of your favorite films through a new angle!
If you have any interest whatsoever in art, this is a fantastic way to learn about how art has been created over the centuries and all over the world. Like music, art is a way that a culture expresses itself, from aborignial rock art in Australia, to the Italian Renaissance (and everything in between). Because art is a part of society, it also tells the story of that culture at a particular moment in history.
These courses also teach students how to analyze pieces of art and develop critical thinking skills as well as essential writing skills. Some art history classes are lucky enough to examine the campus’ art museum if there is one, or organize a field trip to a local museum to view and discuss art.
You don’t have to be a techie to get something out of an IT or computer science-based class. It’s an important skill to learn and one that is often overlooked in high school. Classes like programming, technology in your field, or computers in sociology can apply to what you want to do with your future and give you a marketable skill to put on your resume.
It’s also not a bad idea to try out a coding basics class to see if maybe that might be something that you would want to pursue. There are so many jobs out there that don’t require a mastery of computer languages or design, but that do require a couple of basics. These types of skills combined with your major make you stand out to employers in the future!
Anthropology, the study of cultures and societies, is a great, eye-opening class to take when you’re a history buff in the making! But these courses are also recommended for people who may be on a more technical route. It’s always a good idea to understand where you came from, and an anthropology class would be perfect if you have some room in your schedule.
These classes offer students an understanding of how civilizations are built, destroyed, and rediscovered. It will also teach them to relate these findings to the modern world, and why our current events are unfolding the way they are because of the history of different people and civilizations.
Improve your selfie game with a photography class. You don’t have to want to do this for a living (which is why it’s a great elective!) but you will understand what makes a photograph okay, and what makes a photograph Pulitzer Prize worthy. You’ll learn about lighting, photo editing, and tricks of the trade. No Instagram filter required.
Even though most photography is done digitally today, you can still learn a lot about older model cameras, and how a photographer chooses their lighting, distance, and shutter speed in just the right way. There are a certain set of skills behind every great photo, and with some of these tricks of the trade under your belt, you’ll be on your way to better photos in no time.
Intro to Foreign Language
We said easy, right? One semester of a foreign language doesn’t have to be a challenge. Take it as a break class (such as J-Term) and pick up basics for travel like greetings, asking questions, or complimenting a new friend. With an ever-increasingly connected world, knowing more than one language (even if it’s just a few polite basics) is becoming more and more necessary.
It can also make all the difference when you’re job hunting after graduation and can list an in demand language such as Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, or Russian on your resume. Employers look for people who are open to learning new things, and who can prove to be valuable team players to international clientele. So give the intro course a try, who knows you might just find out you have a knack for it!
Electives are a fun way to try something new and different, and get you out of your major coursework for a while. The electives on this list are some of the most fun, and many colleges offer them giving anyone the chance to expand their horizons and get out of their comfort zone. What are your favorite electives, or which ones did you not take but wish you did? Let us know in the comments!