6 Electives All High School Students Should Take


Read this blog post for ideas about which elective courses you should take in high school. From impressing colleges to preparing yourself for the working world, these courses are sure to make a difference in your life.

Selecting Electives

Generally speaking, a high school student's academic life doesn't include much opportunity for customization. You take the classes you're required to take.

However, there is one shining beacon of personalization available to you as a high school student: electives. Whether your school offers five or 50, this is your chance to choose a class that you want to take. Only… what if you're not entirely sure what you want? If you're looking for guidance as to which electives you should try, check out this list of six elective classes that all high school students should take.

1. A Foreign Language

We highly recommend taking a foreign language in high school - or a second one if your school already requires one - and there are many reasons why. First, many colleges require one these days for admission. Further, learning foreign languages has been proven to have myriad cognitive benefits.

For example, learning a foreign language can open up opportunities for you to work, travel, and study across the globe and provide you with an important sense of perspective about your own country and culture. It'll also allow you to communicate with people different from yourself. Additionally, the ability to speak another language looks impressive on job resumes. So if you're wondering why you should take a foreign language, maybe you should be asking yourself... why not?

2. Public Speaking

You've probably heard that the most common human fear - aside from death - is the fear of public speaking. In fact, many people freeze up when faced with the task of talking before a room full of people. But this is an important skill in academic and professional life. Whether you're delivering a presentation in a classroom or a brief to a boardroom, practice in public speaking can come in handy.

As public speaking is, after all, a skill, this means that it can be taught. So don't shy away from this elective if you're one of those people who would rather swallow a spider than talk in public.

High school students should take a public speaking elective

3. Writing

Here's a skill that's completely and totally necessary in today's professional world: writing. Even if your future job may not entail writing reports or books or anything of that nature, you'll inevitably be required to do a lot of writing throughout your career: resumes, cover letters, emails, and so on. If you want to be successful in the working world, if you want to impress people and be taken seriously, you should consider taking an elective class that will help you sharpen your writing skills. Whether you opt for a professional writing course, a creative writing course, or something more or less specific, you'll probably be better off for it.

4. Personal Finance

Not all high schools offer personal finance as an elective, but if your school does, please take it! This is an invaluable skill that's taught with unfortunately low frequency. Regardless of where you go in your life after high school, the skills you learn in a personal finance class will come in handy. For example, do any of the following seem important?

  • Opening a checking or savings account
  • Using debit or credit cards
  • Leasing a car or an apartment
  • Buying a house or car
  • Establishing good credit
  • Saving for retirement
  • Understanding 401K and insurance benefits

Chances are you recognize the value of these important skills already. And if not… all the more reason to take a personal finance elective!

High school students should take a personal finance elective

5. Computer Programming/Science

Today's world is teeming with technology - but we don't have to tell you that. You are, after all, reading this blog post on the Internet, using a computer, tablet, or mobile device.

If you're currently in high school, you already know just how much we rely on computers (yes, your phone counts) to get us through every moment of the day. If you want a major advantage in this culture, and/or to open up a world of career opportunities in a very lucrative field, think about taking a class in computers. Whether it's computer programming, computer science, computer mathematics, or something else, this class will look good on your college application and resume. It will also help you acquire a skill that's becoming increasingly key to functioning in our digital world.

6. Something Fun

Outside of these considerations, there's one more thing you should think about when you're choosing a high school elective: doing what you enjoy while giving yourself an academic break. So whether your thing is playing an instrument, painting, acting, or something else, definitely consider choosing that for your elective. Not only are creative pursuits so good for your brain, but they also show colleges your personality. So go ahead and take that basket weaving elective if that's what's calling to your heart - we think it's a great idea!

High school students should take electives they find fun

Want to get a head start on college? Take your general education requirements online, at your own pace, with Study.com's College Accelerator.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
January 2019
k-12 student resources

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