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Students, how do you pick your electives?

  1. Dec 15, 2007 #1
    Be honest. When you choose your electives to fulfill your liberal arts requirements, do you go for the easy first-year level courses with the multiple-choice final, or do you pick them based on your interest in the subject?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2007 #2
    I would first find something interesting, and then pick the easiest from those options. They were always a lot of work still though. I had one class I dropped. It was nonwestern architecture. The guy would lecture about how this type of hut had this pice of crap, and that hut had that junk on it for an entire hour. It was total garbage.
  4. Dec 15, 2007 #3
    I went for a English Lit. course this term, and even though i liked most of it, i wrote the final yesterday and i can tell my mark in it is going to be crap. The course load was much lighter than my math courses, but it was harder to get a decent mark on anything. Not sure if this is something I'll be doing in future terms..
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  5. Dec 15, 2007 #4
    I choose ones that interest me but that are still easy. In honesty, I probably put more important on the ease of the course.
  6. Dec 15, 2007 #5
    I took Sociology 101 this semester. Multiple choice tests, 4 tests including the final, he drops the lowest, also gives out extra credit. I probably got a B- in the class :rofl: Of course, I only showed up to class for the reviews & exams (so I never got to do the extra credit), and I would read the chapters a day or two before the exam. I also took an elective on Statistics in Psychology, which was cool, but mostly stuff I already knew. I guess to answer your question, I go for the easiest class, but also try to pick a subject I am interested in. Note that the professor determines how easy/difficult a class is, so you really want to find an easy professor. I do like Sociology, but I really did not like getting up at 6am to attend the class.
  7. Dec 15, 2007 #6


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    Electives are my bane. At first I decided to pick things that interested me, but I quickly realized that: a) they were not that interesting after all, and b) they're too much hard work (or mostly busy work), and I'd rather work on something else. So I'd end up dropping them very quickly. I now generally choose the easiest ones of those that I don't find completely uninteresting, like Cyrus said. I still do really badly in them because I'm completely unmotivated to do any of the work. For example, I'm taking a course in microecon and the final exam is in a few days, and I have no idea what's going on in that course. The only time I spent any effort on it was when I read the printed notes for a couple of hours right before the midterm (which I never picked up, so I don't know if I passed it or not, but I think I did). This will also be my plan for the final.

    I'm not proud of it, but this is the way it goes... I've tried so hard to find something interesting to take, but failed miserably. Next term I'm considering taking a language (French, in which I'm already semi-proficient). We'll see how that plays out!
  8. Dec 15, 2007 #7
    i've noticed that course sequences are not as rigid in the arts. You can opt to take second or third year courses that have no prerequisites if you dare

    i know people who will be taking nothing but math and physics courses throughout their entire undergrad careers, which is somewhat absurd considering the breadth of courses offered in the arts.
  9. Dec 15, 2007 #8
    I pick my elective based on how it fits well into my weekly schedule.
  10. Dec 15, 2007 #9


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    I took electives in the arts (history, religion, philosophy) that were interesting. I would go to the department or professor and obtain a syllabus and perhaps talk to the professor if I need further information.

    For technical electives in math, physics or engineering, I selected those that would support my major, research or areas of interest. For those electives, I'd talk with the professor teaching the class, get a syllabus and check the textbook in the bookstore or library first.
  11. Dec 15, 2007 #10
    For arts options I try to pick something I would think is interesting, but usually I ended up having to go with whatever fit into my crappy schedule. The only option I ever took that I actually enjoyed was anthropology, which I found quite interesting.
  12. Dec 15, 2007 #11


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    When I was a student, I took my electives based on what fit in my schedule. I'd try to find ones that were interesting, but usually it came down to what was offered that I could squish in between my other classes.
  13. Dec 15, 2007 #12


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    For me the arts have the most interesting (and easiest courses). I took one course about the history of art from prehistoric to medieval times. It was both of interest and very easy. I'm currently registered for an engineering ethics course this coming semester. Should be fun!

    I would never choose an English course as an elective. I absolutely hate it.
  14. Dec 15, 2007 #13
    To give you an idea, here we must take

    1. English
    2. Technical Writing
    3. Literature
    4. Arts
    5. Arts/lit/Humanities
    6. Social/Political History
    7. Behavior/Social Science
    8. Behavior/Social Science

    Thats two semesters (24-credits) of just busy work.
  15. Dec 15, 2007 #14


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    My requirements were similar in college, and I don't consider it busy work. It was useful to know about fields outside my own. You can look for classes among those that will help you out in your future careers. I think it goes without saying that English and technical writing are a must for anyone going into science. You need to know how to write. In teh behavior and social science category, look for something that will help you understand the social interactions of the people you'll have to deal with in an office setting. Considering your other thread about lack of communication skills, there's an opportunity to learn about how other people communicate and to improve your own communications skills. Under arts, you'll learn more about different types of aesthetic components to incorporate with functionality in things you need to design. Or, you'll just have something more to talk about with other people of different backgrounds from yourself.
  16. Dec 15, 2007 #15
    I think there is nothing wrong with electives. But I think you should just take those courses on your own time and be able to enjoy them. They waste a lot of your time from classes important to your major. They should be something you take over the summer so you dont have to worry about other suff.

    Also, dont let the names fool you. When they say "art", they dont mean design, or drawing. Thats for art majors and is not an elective. Its going to be something like art theory which involves plato, etc. The english courses were very useful though. Social classes had nothing to do with communication skills. It was more like Criminal justice, or philosophy. A class on public speaking wont count as a general elective.

    Here is one example:


    The choices flat out stink.
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  17. Dec 15, 2007 #16


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    That's unfortunate. I think there should be more flexibility in what you can take as electives rather than having a limited list of courses. If someone wants to take a modern dance class as an art elective, they should be allowed to do so, and not forced into something like art history if that doesn't interest them. They should just list which groups of departments you can choose courses from; i.e., have a list of art departments, and a list of departments whose courses can fulfill the social sciences/humanities electives, etc..

    We had specific courses to choose from too, but it was a pretty long list, so not too restrictive.
  18. Dec 15, 2007 #17
    That seems like a lot, I only had to take a full year english course, plus 2 semester long arts options. But I guess to balance that out I have to take courses like clinical laboratory management, interdisciplinary health team environment and communication and analysis of biomedical information. Gross.
  19. Dec 15, 2007 #18
    Wow, you are lucky Cyrus, we have to take 2 classes in English and either Technical Writing or Public Speaking, 4 Social Sciences, 3 Humanities, 1 Arts/Music, 3 Science, 2 Math, 1 Foreign Language.

    I would say half of the classes I have taken are electives outside my major/minor; I just counted, I will have taken 21 classes (approximately 65 credits out of the 128 needed to graduate) not related to my major/minor by the time I graduate next semester. Out of the 20 of those classes I have taken so far, I would say 4 or 5 I found to be useful (with the three English classes probably the most useful).
  20. Dec 15, 2007 #19
    The best system to use involves choosing your favorite courses. You chose your major because it interests you, so therefore it makes sense to choose electives in the same manner. Taking into mind the relevence towards your own core courses may not hurt either.
    So far I have linear algebra and macroeconomics. I am taking micro next semester with either a macro/micro theory to follow in the fall, and a senior level economics course the spring after. I haven't ruled out accounting i, eng math/de, compsci, wwii history or any english elective.

    In my personal opinion, you cannot go wrong with economics no matter the major.
  21. Dec 15, 2007 #20


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    Ditto that. I'm about to take a two semester econ course.
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