Electives: Creating a Well-Rounded Student

By Jacob Hallberg

Each day continues to pass and the knowledge base of the summer semester students grows. Their minds filled with new information and ways to help shape them into a better, more rounded employee or individual of society. However, often times many of the classes we take as undergraduates don’t directly relate towards our degree, they are still required.

If you’re are in any way similar to me, you may have pondered the question of why. Why must we as students be required to take so many classes that don’t directly influence our capacity in our chosen field of research and study? The answer may elude some, but the underlying message maintains a strong hold within our education society.

Some students have their entire college path carved out and push to complete each step. The electives seem to be a hindrance at first, but in reality they are there to shape you into a better student.

As a Computer Science major many of the electives I take have no immediate effect on my success in my field, but after questioning the importance of some classes I came to the realization that the electives are actually shaping me into a better student overall. They give me the opportunity to expand my otherwise narrow horizons and give me the chance to improve in other areas of study rather than my chosen path of study. Additionally, some classes are able to directly improve my likelihood of success by giving me the skills that enable a successful career path. For example, taking business classes enables students to learn more about the business side of everyday aspects and can help an entrepreneur student create a successful business that they otherwise would have lacked knowledge to successfully create.

Similarly, students who are unsure of what area of study they would like to choose may take electives. If students had no electives, then the undeclared student would be potentially wasting years of time by taking classes until they find what major they are interested in. The current setup of our educational system allows for students to take many electives and hopefully, after a few years of electives, the previously undeclared student finds a prospective interest.

Not all electives are completely unrelated towards a degree. Typically, there are three different types of electives that are available for students when completing a degree. Free electives, which any course will fulfill, area of study electives, which are often pre-selected types of classes within a program, and general education electives, which are designed to help create a well-rounded intellectual within a society.

One example of a required elective for many degree programs is the public speaking course. Public speaking aims to teach students how to successfully materialize their thoughts while in front of often times large groups of individuals. In many working environments employees may be required to stand up in front of their fellow coworkers and give a presentation on their part of a specific work project. For example, if you work as a financial analyst at a small company and the quarterly meeting is scheduled, your employer may require you to give an informational presentation on the current state of the company’s finances and how they might improve their margin of loss.

Overall, electives offer students more than just a fulfillment of time. Students should aim to take electives that they feel will improve their ability to be a successful member of society and a competitive force within the job market. Electives are in place to create well-rounded students and broaden their access to further information. If you are interested in what electives you should take to become a well-rounded student, please contact an education counselor here at Front Range Community College.

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