What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs,

blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and

format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

During your time at college, you’re going to eventually decide on a major, which will be your chosen field of concentration for the next couple of years. You’ll also see that there are a variety of other courses that are available for you to take, which may or may not be in your field of study. Typically, colleges and universities want to give students a well-rounded education, which means exposing them to different subjects they may not otherwise have the time to study. 

Main image courtesy of Public Policy Institute of California.

This is why you’ll see that each year when you register for class, there are spaces available in your course load for electives (in addition to your core and major requirements) that you can fill each semester. But how do you know which electives to take each semester, and why would you want to take some over others? We’re glad you asked, because in this article we’re going to cover:

  • What a college elective is
  • How to tell if one college elective is easier than another
  • Ways you can prepare for your elective classes

What is a College Elective?

These courses can help you get the well-rounded education you signed up for

Electives are a great way to expand your knowledge base. Image courtesy of FordMurray Law

Each semester, no matter if you’re a freshman or a senior, you’re going to have certain courses that you’re required to take. These typically fall under two categories:

  • Core course requirement. These courses are required by your school, which means that all students must complete them in order to obtain a degree. These types of broad classes include subjects such as math, English, humanities, and science. Every school has different requirements for each student to meet these mandatory credits for graduation. 
  • Major course requirement. These courses are specific to your major, and are required to be completed in order to graduate with that particular major. So if you’re a Chemistry major, there are certain major requirements such as organic chemistry and labs that you’ll be required to take. While if you’re a Political Science major, you’ll need to take course work in political theory and forms of governance to graduate.

In addition to these types of courses, the remainder of your schedule each semester will be filled out with electives. Electives allow you to take almost any class that’s offered at your institution and have it count towards the credit total you need to graduate. 

Before choosing an elective, there are some things to consider

But how do you know what elective classes to take each semester? Well, this depends on you, the student! Before deciding on what elective to take, consider how you want it to fit into your overall academic plan. Some students take electives that they think will be easy, allow them to get an A, and boost their GPA. While you can certainly take a course in order to do this, ask yourself if this course really serves a purpose by adding it to your schedule. If you want to get your GPA higher, consider taking an elective that can teach you skills that will transfer over into your major. Not only does this look good on your transcript, but you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the job market further down the road. 

This is why if you’re a STEM major, it might not be a bad idea to take a communications or social science elective that can help you strengthen your interpersonal skills. On the other hand, if you’re a humanities or social science major, taking a math or stats course can give you skills that will set you apart from other future job applicants. 

This isn’t to say you can’t take a course because it interests you--by all means try this out too! You’re at college to learn and to expand your horizons, and you’re going to have no better opportunity to do so. In addition to electives that can help you reach your academic goals, consider checking out something new and different that you’ve always wanted to try. Is there a painting or art history class you’d love to explore? Why not add it as an elective! Want to delve deeper into Victorian literature or learn the basics of astronomy? This is the time to do so.

Electives are factored into your course load each semester so you not only can complete your general and major requirements, but also have the time to explore something else out of your comfort zone. 

How to Tell if a College Elective Will Be Easy (or Not)

Follow these tips to get the scoop on whether or not your college elective will be easy or not

There are practical ways to determine whether or not your college elective will be easy. Image courtesy of The Lodges at 777.

Choosing electives to fill your schedule shouldn’t be hard work. But no one wants to sign up for a course that’s going to drain them and be harder than they originally planned on. After all, you’ve got to focus on your major requirements and shouldn’t be dealing with a difficult elective that takes up valuable study time. So before jumping into any elective, we recommend trying out a few of these tips first to help you determine how easy (or how hard) an elective might be.

Are you interested in the subject?

One of the best ways to determine whether or not an elective course could cause you trouble is to ask yourself if you’re truly interested in the subject. Determining your level of interest can help gauge how you’re likely to respond to the course material. When you’re interested in something, it seems like you can’t get enough of the content and class, however, when you’re less interested in a course, it can become a drag. When a class--especially an elective--becomes a chore, most people start to put less effort into it. Doing this can undermine your academic goals and cause you to actually hurt your GPA! So while taking a Spanish class to complement your business major is a great idea, make sure you’re ready for the work it can involve and that you genuinely see the benefit of taking a language course. 

If you have the space in your schedule, you have the option to take electives that can benefit your major field of study, as well as courses that are just interesting. As we mentioned earlier, having an interest in the subject--or at least understanding how it can benefit you in the long run--can help determine whether or not your elective will be easy for you. 

Look at the course number

Another good way to measure the difficulty of an elective is to pay attention to the course number. Each course you’ll find in college has a number attached to it as well as an abbreviation, such as BIO101 or ENG224 for a biology or English course. Most undergraduate schools use 100-400 level courses to determine level of difficulty. You can determine how hard the course is going to be on a scale from 1-4, with 100 level classes being the easiest and broadest, while the 400 level classes contain more advanced content that is typically for majors in that field. 

So when you go to decide what elective you’d like to take for a semester, you’re probably going to want to stick within the 100 to 200 level courses. This is because your free electives are not in your major, so you want a course that’s more general and appropriate for students who may not be studying this field. After taking a 100 level course as an elective, you may find that you want to continue in this area, so you would then take a more specialized course at the 200 level the next semester. This happens a lot with foreign languages that you may want to pursue throughout your time at school, but not major in. Although should you decide that a particular language (or other field of study) is something you want to pursue more intensely, you can always discuss making it a second major or a minor with your academic advisor. 

Check out Rate My Professor

One of the easiest ways to get a quick answer to whether an elective is hard is to check out Rate My Professor. This site is incredibly useful to students because you can search for the name of the professor who is instructing the elective and get real reviews from students who have already taken their courses. Just type in the professor’s name, or search by school and the department they teach in. You’ll then get responses from students that leave an overall grade as well as a blurb about how hard or easy they found that professor’s class to be. Just find the class that you’re interested in taking and read a few of the ratings to get a feel for whether or not you’d like the way a particular instructor teaches, and if other students found the course hard. 

Ask around

It can’t hurt to ask around to friends and other classmates regarding a specific professor and the elective you’re interested in taking. Chances are someone you know has had the class (or at least took a class with the professor) to give you an honest review of the level of difficulty. 

Ways You Can Prepare for Your Elective Classes

No matter which elective you choose, prepare in advance to put your best foot forward

Prepare for and attend your elective classes just like your required courses! Image courtesy of Clever Girl Finance.

No matter what electives you decide to pursue throughout your college career, try to get the most out of them! Whether they’re courses that can complement your major area of study, or they’re a subject you always wanted to learn more about, approach your time in that class just as you would in one of your required courses. Here are some of the best ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of every college elective you take. 

Get organized!

Treat taking an elective like it is no different from the rest of your core courses, and that means getting (and staying) organized. Pick up a planner or a board where you can write down due dates, tests, and pencil in study time. Even if you’re taking this elective just because it’s interesting and easy, that’s no reason to miss important deadlines. 

We like this Weathered Organization Kit from OCM because it gives you all the space you need to not only plan both your upcoming week and month, but also has a space to jot down notes or your “to-do” list. It also has a corkboard for hanging those tests or papers you aced!

Keep an open mind

You were drawn to this particular elective for a reason, whether it’s to learn something new, get out of your comfort zone, or pick up a class that will benefit you in the long run. Always keep an open mind about the material, and how the professor is instructing the course. Maybe after a few weeks you realize the class isn’t what you wanted it to be, but like everything in college, treat it like the learning experience that it is! Who knows, maybe this elective will teach you to think a little differently, or gain insight into someone else’s perspective if you let it. 

Put in the work and attend class

That being said, you still need to put in the work and show up for class--even if it ends up not being your favorite class. But if you do end up loving your elective, that’s great! That should make it easier to stay on top of assignments and soak up the content of the course. But don’t forget to make time to relax!  Each day when you get back to the dorm after class, take a load off with OCM’s Plush Throw Pillow. These are the perfect companion to unwinding, but they also add a little extra comfy to your study session--no matter what subject!

Regardless of what elective you decide on, there’s definitely a way to tell not only whether it will be difficult, but whether it could be the right class for you. When you’re deciding, follow these tips and don’t be afraid to try something new and different!