Most degree plans have space for electives, classes that have nothing to do with your declared major. It’s easy to fall into the trap of taking pointless classes to get an easy A, but that mindset won’t help you achieve your long-term goals. Instead, check out these tips to pick classes that will complement your degree plan, without stressing you out.

  • Think about what your degree plan is lacking. For example, are you a business major who hasn’t been required to learn Excel or Access? Those are necessary skills that you’ll need for internships and full-time work. I’m willing to bet your school has an intro class in that material. Use that same logic to think about what you’re going to want to know on the first day of your next new job and then sign up for an intro level course in that area. Some ideas include: statistics, economics, public speaking, computer skills, communications or writing.
  • Make yourself well-rounded. Having a specialization in your major is awesome, but it means that you’re missing out on the other subjects your school offers. Are you a business major who hasn’t taken a science or writing class since high school? Are you a biology major who doesn’t know what GAAP stands for? While you may not end up using the information in this type of elective later, it will help you practice thinking and learning in a new way.
  • Think about what excites you. If you were absolutely required to pick up a non-fiction book TOMORROW and start teaching yourself something, what would it be? It is absolutely fine to pick classes that interest you, even if there is no other reason to take it! Be honest with yourself about the difference between a class that excites you and a class you’re taking simply because it sounds easy.

What classes have you taken as electives? Are there any tips I missed? Tweet at @fortefoundation or @perras_jordan

Jordan Perras will graduate in 2018 from Northeastern University and she is majoring in Math and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics.  She has a wide variety of interests that include history, art and literature and plans to pursue an MBA after college. She is especially interested in the role of social entrepreneurship in sustainable business.