Switch up your schedule

Elective classes hold immense value beyond filling course requirements

English. Math. Science. Core classes are the basis of our education and dominate our school days. As we progress through high school, many feel trapped by the expectation to succeed in these core classes. 

And ultimately, this has distracted us from other viable subjects: electives. Educational systems are slowly losing the importance of what electives can give.  

Students know too well the stress to excel in standardized testing and have a rigorous schedule worthy of impressing colleges, causing the focus on core classes to increase exponentially. For junior Johnathan Peters electives create a space where he feels relaxed and stress free in comparison to core classes. 

“I loved when we would play games in Spanish. My teacher always knew how to make the best games,” Peters said. “Walking into Spanish I always knew I was going to have fun.”

All the while, electives like art, music, and industrial technology are framed as pursuits lacking professional value. The impact of indifference surrounding electives is more than one would initially think. 

According to the Miami Herald electives not only provide practical skills but help students find hidden talents or passions. Electives offer options that allow individuals to seek out interests. Being able to choose a class is huge, and this tends to keep kids motivated to learn.

Another plus of taking electives in high school is that it creates an environment that students can excel in. Senior Cartney McGuigan remembers in drama the encouragement and inclusiveness she felt from the whole class.

“I learned a lot of techniques and skills that I even use today when I act, but I also learned about what kind of academic environment I really thrive in,” McGuigan said.

The college driven mindset has completely changed what students feel they can and can’t study while in high school. It is important now that we emphasize the importance of branching out and taking electives. In reality, a diversity in coursework provided by arts or music is likely to be respected by an admissions committee. 

The College Board reported that in 2017, 1.17 million students took at least one Advanced Placement course. The increase in AP course registration shows the prevalence of a college-centered mentality and an attitude less focused on classes that could help students discover alternative professions. Of course, it is important to note that Advanced Placement classes can be a great tool to help prepare for college, but it is important to find the balance between elective and core courses. 

Electives are essential to the growth of teenagers’ intellectual and emotional health and must become more emphasized.  Without them, students’ indifference towards higher education may very well increase, leaving them without a spark or passion. 

Whether strumming a guitar, welding a pipe, or applying paint to canvas, the positive implications of electives hold more significance than course credit.