The Art of Carefully Choosing Electives

When discussing electives with people (particularly older people), you may have overheard them use a specific term to describe courses that don’t appear to offer much substance. “Basket weaving” electives are an older term, but it is still widely used. If the curriculum does not appear to be primarily rigorous, a course is regarded to be a basket weaving course.

While this may appear to be a subjective assessment, the fact that certain courses are regarded as harder and easier compared to others provides a conundrum for university students: should they choose electives according to how little work they may require, or should they choose ones that will be far more beneficial and stimulating in the longterm? If you are a new, soon-to-be, or existing university student looking for ways to fill those elective credits, here are some suggestions for selecting the best elective programs.

Find out more about the professor

If you’ve never heard of or used the website “rate my professor,” it’s time you did. Rate my professor is a platform that enables you to see reviews of others students regarding your professor, whether you are choosing an elective or trying to learn more about a compulsory course. Is the professor reasonable? Are they condescending and rude? Do they complete their work on time? Are they enthusiastic about what they teach? Do students feel enlightened and educated after completing their course? Although you should always make up your own mind when choosing how you feel about something or someone, it is always a good idea to consider the crowd’s viewpoints.

You can also undertake your own independent investigation into the professor. Most of your professors have substantial bodies of published research, including books. Some of them may have retained positions of power in both the public and private sectors. Others in their field may regard them as esteemed professionals and renowned thinkers. Take a moment to learn about the person you’re paying to teach you and grade your work.

Before selecting electives, review the syllabus

You ‘must do’ this before deciding on a course. If you are a paying student, and sometimes even before you have paid your tuition, you will have access to your school’s full calendar of courses, as well as their respective syllabi. Many students pay less attention to their course syllabi, during the semester. The syllabus is the most important piece of course documentation. It explains the course’s goal, the professor’s expectations of you and your work, and the course material you’ll be working on over the course of four months.

It makes no sense to put a lot of money and time into a four-month project without knowing what it will entail. Examine the reading list and course materials. Google the titles of the articles and books you intend to use. Learn more about them. Are these works that you intend to read and analyze? Don’t sign up for a course only to discover after the drop-out date that you’ll be stuck with it for three and a half months of tedium and distress.

Balancing between workload and interest

Another consideration when selecting electives is keeping a manageable schedule. This is the point at which the realities of university life and individual circumstances collide with wants and desires. According to a 2015 Georgetown University study, 70–80 percent of students at American universities worked while attending classes. That equates to 14 million students. Anybody who has ever worked and studied at the same time knows how hectic it can be, even to the point of severe depression.

If you are trying to combine work and study , the reality of your university life may influence the types of elective programs you can take. For instance, if every minute of your day is already taken up — with work, school, or something extracurricular — it may simply be too much stress to try to squeeze in that Earth Science elective with the three-hour lab once a week, or the classics course that requires you to read an entire book every single week. You might have to look for a less time-consuming alternative. If you’re still struggling to balance all of your competing obligations, custom essay writing services can help you find some balance by lightening the load.

If you’re still undecided, join the first lecture

In case you are having trouble deciding on a course and are doing so with a variety of different courses at the same time, sign up for as many as you can and attend the first lecture. If you go to the first class and are fascinated, and you see yourself remaining so throughout the semester, it is a good indication that this is the class for you. If you like the professor’s personality, vision, and attitude, and believe you will benefit from the course material, you should put the course on your short list while planning to attend the others.

Always drop any electives you are not interested in taking before the last eligible date to drop courses, or you may be forced to drop out of classes without receiving a reimbursement. It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.

At the end of the day, your elective courses should be viewed as opportunities for both new information and exploration. If you don’t have to, don’t look at your open time frames as an opportunity to do as only little easy work as possible. Keep the preceding in mind when selecting electives, and contact GradeOffice if you are short on time and require the assistance of reputable, professional essay writers.


(2019). “Rate My Professors.” Rate My Professor. Retrieved from:

White, G.B. (2015). “The struggle of work-school balance.” The Atlantic. Retrieved from:

Originally published at on May 28, 2019.