Electives provide escape for students from major courses

Majors can be considered a defining choice for a student.

They announce to the world what the student wants to do with their life and who they want to become after graduation.

However, throughout a student’s college career they are required to take classes outside of their major in order to fulfill their elective credits.

While there are prescribed electives within each major, there is also some wiggle room for students to choose other classes outside of a major freely.

This allows them to continue to earn credits towards a diploma while enjoying a welcomed break and change of pace in classes.

According to data by Ed Sullivan, assistant vice president of the Cal State Fullerton Office of Institutional Research and Analytical Studies, the most popular elective taken within the College of the Arts by non-art majors was Music 406W Women’s Choir.

Professor Robert Istad, Ph.D, who teaches the women’s choir class, said there are students from all different majors on campus who choose to take the choir class as an elective.

“They have discovered that the secret to a happy life is singing … if you’re always singing, I always tell people this, then you’ll always be happy,” said Istad.

He added that it’s important to take classes outside of one’s designated major beause it helps students to become well-rounded human beings.

Istad especially suggested taking a performing arts class, because he feels that being creative and expressive is wonderful for all careers and can help with thinking outside of the box.

The most popular elective for non-general education courses in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics was Biology 210A, Human Anatomy and Physiology, said Sullivan.

As for the College of Business and Economics,  the most popular elective for non-general education courses was Financial Accounting 201A.

However, it’s important to note that these courses can also function as pre-major courses for the business major, who has not yet declared their major, assuming that the student will eventually declare themselves as a business major, said Sullivan.

Others are excited about being able to explore other interests that allow them to investigate new ideas, concepts and even maybe meet new people.

“I took a human sexualitly class, dance class, I think I took swim classes as well,” said Stephanie Lopez, 23, an international business major. “It was just personal interest.”

After taking a philosophy and and an English class, Lopez said she realized that some electives fulfill the same requirements.

“It was like I took two classes for the same credits,” Lopez said.

Sometimes selecting that perfect elective has little do with the class and more to do with how the class fits in with one’s schedule.

After all, here at CSUF, just finding parking with enough time to get to class is half the battle.

For Megan Marumoto, 24, a psychology major, scheduling has always been a struggle.

“Just trying to fit it in with work and other things is hard,” said Megan Marumoto. “I took a lot of classes just to fulfill requirements.”

The plethora of elective options on campus allows students to choose classes that adhere to their major interests, to try something new, or that simply fit in with their schedule.

While some students enjoy a break from classes that are strictly for their major, others are not keen on the idea.

Daniel Philo, 29, a geological sciences major, said that although he has taken classes outside of his desired area of expertise, he said he is not interested in taking classes outside of geologial sciences and  prefers to take only classes that apply to his major.

Philo added that for this reason he usually sticks with taking geology electives, because it’s what he is truly interested in.

The elective classes that Philo chose to take were for math.

After taking a couple of extra math classes Philo was, however, inspired to work toward a math minor he said.

“I’m here to learn a trade so I can go out and be a great geologist and I don’t really care about other crap,” said Daniel Philo.

While students have varying opinions on the importance of electives, there is a clear pick for the most popular electives on the CSUF campus.

About Casey Elofson