General electives help students develop real life skills

by Aero Cavalier / Staff Reporter

According to College Raptor, one goal of elective courses are to enhance a student’s college experience. Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Kate Saez, a Roosevelt sophomore, is sitting in an Intro to Sociology class at 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning. Saez is a sustainability studies major with a double minor in environmental biology and chemistry. So, what is she doing there? 

Saez, like every other student, has to take a certain amount of credits to meet the national requirements for graduation. Although there are CORE classes at Roosevelt University, and a certain number of classes required by nature of your major, they only make up 24 to 75 credit hours. So, what do students do with the rest?

“The general elective classes are courses that we use as fillers, or we encourage students to add it as a minor or double major,” says Courtney Williams, an academic advisor at Roosevelt.

General electives are additional courses outside of a student’s focus of study that are meant to not only get one to the 120 credit mark, but to enhance students’ academic performance and overall enjoyment of college, according to College Raptor. At Roosevelt, they seem to be doing their job.

“Even though I don’t really like taking classes that aren’t what I’m supposed to be studying, I feel like it helps me broaden my interests and hone in on what I should focus on,” said Saez.

Saez also mentioned that a lot of her general electives have focused on intersectionality, which is one of the main goals of Roosevelt’s social justice ideology. 

Additionally, if students were tied to just their CORE classes and major courses, they would be missing out on one of the most glamorized parts of higher education: socialization. College provides a unique opportunity for networking by getting students in contact with professors, people with similar interests and other faculty and staff. This provides more direct routes into the job market and building strong relationships can bode well for your life after college.

“You get to meet other students around campus who may or may not have your major and you get to interact with them,” said Williams. “Socialization is an important piece to being successful in life in general. An education is one, but how do you interact with others?”

Although general electives are rarely looked at when applying for jobs, Williams notes that they play a silent, yet crucial role in the academic life of students: they give them a break. 

“I think they have a huge impact on the success of students in courses, reason being that as you progress within your major you start taking more challenging courses,” says Williams. “It becomes more demanding for the student. What are you doing to balance the semester out? If you’re taking four 300-level courses and maybe you’re taking an arts or humanities class and it kind of levels things out, because it gives you something to look forward to in the day.”

This does seem to be working for full-time students like Saez, giving them an outlet for creative expression or even just one less thing on their plate.

“I notice I do put in less effort during non-major courses,” says Saez. “Because I feel like they don’t need or require as much work as my major classes.”

As of right now, the biggest problem with the general electives at Roosevelt seems to be the availability. 

“I think there’s a large selection of [general electives],” said Williams. “But I do think there should be more options within the semester that they can offer.”

“I wish we had more [electives] that were geared towards how to get a job and how to act like a normal adult,” said Abigail Bovard, an undecided sophomore.

Kate Saez, a Roosevelt sophomore, is sitting in an Intro to Sociology class at 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning. Saez is a sustainability studies major with a double minor in environmental biology and chemistry. So, what is she doing there? 

Saez, like every other student, has to take a certain amount of credits to meet the national requirements for graduation. Although there are CORE classes at Roosevelt University, and a certain number of classes required by nature of your major, they only make up 24 to 75 credit hours. So, what do students do with the rest?

“The general elective classes are courses that we use as fillers, or we encourage students to add it as a minor or double major,” says Courtney Williams, an academic advisor at Roosevelt.

General electives are additional courses outside of a student’s focus of study that are meant to not only get one to the 120 credit mark, but to enhance students’ academic performance and overall enjoyment of college, according to College Raptor. At Roosevelt, they seem to be doing their job.

“Even though I don’t really like taking classes that aren’t what I’m supposed to be studying, I feel like it helps me broaden my interests and hone in on what I should focus on,” said Saez.

Saez also mentioned that a lot of her general electives have focused on intersectionality, which is one of the main goals of Roosevelt’s social justice ideology. 

Additionally, if students were tied to just their CORE classes and major courses, they would be missing out on one of the most glamorized parts of higher education: socialization. College provides a unique opportunity for networking by getting students in contact with professors, people with similar interests and other faculty and staff. This provides more direct routes into the job market and building strong relationships can bode well for your life after college.

“You get to meet other students around campus who may or may not have your major and you get to interact with them,” said Williams. “Socialization is an important piece to being successful in life in general. An education is one, but how do you interact with others?”

Although general electives are rarely looked at when applying for jobs, Williams notes that they play a silent, yet crucial role in the academic life of students: they give them a break. 

“I think they have a huge impact on the success of students in courses, reason being that as you progress within your major you start taking more challenging courses,” says Williams. “It becomes more demanding for the student. What are you doing to balance the semester out? If you’re taking four 300-level courses and maybe you’re taking an arts or humanities class and it kind of levels things out, because it gives you something to look forward to in the day.”

This does seem to be working for full-time students like Saez, giving them an outlet for creative expression or even just one less thing on their plate.

“I notice I do put in less effort during non-major courses,” says Saez. “Because I feel like they don’t need or require as much work as my major classes.”

As of right now, the biggest problem with the general electives at Roosevelt seems to be the availability. 

“I think there’s a large selection of [general electives],” said Williams. “But I do think there should be more options within the semester that they can offer.”

“I wish we had more [electives] that were geared towards how to get a job and how to act like a normal adult,” said Abigail Bovard, an undecided sophomore.

With the possible addition of Robert Morris University students attending courses at Roosevelt in the fall, there could be a much larger selection of electives to choose from, and students might be able to find one that piques their interest.



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