Best Electives to Take in High School

Posted on July 19 2023

Best Electives to Take in High School


One of the big questions a high school student asks themselves is, “what electives should I take in high school.” Every student has to take their core classes to graduate, but choosing from the variety of available electives can sometimes feel daunting. Choosing the best electives to take in high school all depends on your future plans.


What is an elective?


Every high school has graduation requirements consisting of the classes you must complete while enrolled. While many of these required credits are fulfilled by your core classes, such as math and English, every student is required to take a certain amount of electives.

Available electives can vary from school to school, but many common ones include art, music,  and foreign language courses.


Why do schools require elective credits?


By requiring students to take courses outside of the core subjects, students are receiving a well-rounded education. With electives, every student can explore their interests. 

Electives can also serve as a way to prepare students for both college and careers. These classes allow for more in-depth study of subjects that students will likely utilize following graduation. Public speaking or writing courses completed outside of your core English class can prepare students to communicate in both college and the workplace. Art classes are essential to a student who is interested in studying something like graphic design after high school. 

With the variety of options available to students, a common question many students have is “what are the best electives to take in high school.”


What electives should I take in high school?


The best electives to take in high school are going to be dependent upon the individual student and their post-high school goals. If a student is looking at a college that requires foreign language credits for admission, then taking Spanish or French as an elective would be a great option. Some students may already know that they want to work in software engineering, making computer science classes a great option.

Even taking a class that is specific to a student’s interest is a great choice. Practicing and developing art, music, photography, or any other skill is a great way to fulfill elective credits while developing lifelong hobbies. 


Some of the best electives to take in high school

Foreign languages

Even though foreign language classes are not always a requirement to graduate from high school, they are a common college admission requirement. Many common languages offered include Spanish, French, German, and possibly others, depending on the high school’s course catalog. 

Beyond helping students get into college, foreign language classes have real-world applications. Knowing another language can help students when they’re traveling or even help them succeed in certain careers down the road.  

Public speaking

For almost every path that a student can take after high school, public speaking is a great skill to master. Developing this skill will help students succeed in both college courses where they will be graded on presentations as well as workplace meetings that require presentations.

Computer classes

For decades, it’s been true that having a good grasp on technology will give students an edge once they enter college and the workforce. Each high school will offer different computer classes, ranging from typing to computer science to coding. Many of these courses will help students get closer to achieving their dream job after high school, whether they want to be a software developer or they want to work in a technology-focused field like marketing.


What if the best electives to take in high school aren’t available at my school?


When a student is exploring the question, “what are the best electives to take in high school,” they may realize that their high school does not offer the course that they want to take. 

If the best electives to take in high school aren’t available, consider completing elective credits with an online high school like The American Academy. Our 100% online classes are a great option for students who are looking for a specific elective that’s not available at their high school. 

In our course catalog, we offer more than 50 electives for students to choose from. These classes are all taught by dedicated, qualified, and licensed teachers.

To make sure a specific high school will accept an elective course, we recommend meeting with a guidance counselor, so they can review the syllabus and pre-approve the class. Once the class is approved for high school credit, a student can start the class with The American Academy the next business day. 

If you’re ready to take an elective course online, learn more about taking individual courses with The American Academy.

Recommended Readings

How Many Credits Do You Need to Graduate High School? Mapping a Path to Success

What Are Elective Courses and How Can They Help Students?