Electives should be elective

Amelia Johnson

The return to school each year looks exactly the same: students scramble to change their wrongly-assigned classes, a week-long line forms in the counselor’s office, and incoming freshmen, as well as some unlucky sophomores, are stuck with a list of mandatory electives. It’s time for Wilson to take that word literally–

to make our electives elective. 

In addition to core classes, students are required to fulfill music, art, and gym credits, but even after completing those many are stuck in other electives. Though intended to be critical, character-building courses, required electives serve as nothing but free periods for the majority of students. The skill levels of kids in these classes are blatantly varying: imagine an entry-level music class with students ranging from beginner to advanced, all of whom must go along with the very elementary material (if they hope to graduate). 

The required electives particularly pose a problem to juniors. If they could complete required core classes earlier in high school, in place of electives, junior year schedules could have more flexibility, the importance of which seems to be overlooked; open space in a schedule as an upperclassman can allow for extra AP courses, or simply courses more tailored to students with unique interests, which will better prepare them for college.

Another obstacle this year was scheduling. Many juniors like myself were enrolled in classes that we weren’t meant to take, the only viable solution being the basically pointless trip to the counselor’s office, which often consumes a whole class period and leaves you with the same schedule as before. 

An easy fix to this dilemma is to give juniors study periods–instead of trying for days to switch a class and ending with an unsatisfactory one, Wilson should allow us to take that period off to work on homework or do test prep, especially as we near the SATs and ACTs. This would have the added bonus of reducing class sizes and opening seats for students who are excited for a specific elective. It would also alleviate the tremendous burden of schedule changes that the counselors have to deal with each semester which places an unnecessary amount of stress on them.

At the end of the day, a dispassionate student is not going to benefit from a class, and the school doesn’t benefit from implementing such a strict curriculum. If Wilson intends to prepare us for college, they need to act in the best interest of students by allowing us to determine which courses excite us and giving us the time we need to study in between. •