Most Lake Norman Charter High School students are interested in a certain career, passion, or college path. After all, it is a college prep school. These students take the school’s required electives to graduate: a fine arts credit, two foreign language credits and a Health/PE credit. They also take electives out of their own interest. Some options among these electives include Journalism I, Literature and Film, and Psychology. However, these electives may not be enough to suit the student body’s interests.
If the school offered more career-specific electives, they would better prepare students for college and beyond. Shelby Zimmerman (11) felt most passionate about her oceanography elective so far. “I liked the class and teacher, Mrs. Balogh,” said Zimmerman, who recognizes that she excelled most in this elective, in comparison to the others she has taken at Charter because she enjoyed the content. The idea that students shine in fun classes raises the argument that adding more electives would improve the students’ drive to perform well. If Zimmerman could add an elective to the schedule, she would add a business or marketing class, because it reflects the path she intends to take in college and throughout her future careers.
Even the College Board advises applicants to take high school elective courses that suit their passions and show their interests. According to the College Board website, “Taking a class in an area you enjoy or want to learn more about can be fun and help reduce stress.” For example, a student dreaming to be a counselor should take psychology courses to be introduced to the subject.
“I think it would be great to add in an engineering or computer class as well,” said counselor Claudia Bravener. “I understand that we are college prep and have electives more in the humanities but so many students are going to college for technical degrees and it would be great to give them some experience in that before college.” Because a student with experience in their desired field would feel most most confident graduating high school with some experience, LNC is still a college prep school.
Not only do administration and teachers view electives as beneficial for students in preparing for college, electives can aid them as well. According to Laurie Futterman in “Beyond the Classroom: Electives in school-essential or entertaining?”, teachers who instruct a more technical elective are given the outlet for their creativity and expertise on a certain subject. “They must be able to effectively parlay these skills to their students — while having eyes in back of their heads — to create an enriched environment where students learn to cultivate skill sets of their own,” said Futterman. With passionate teachers come passionate students.
Some LNC teachers recall the significance of of their own high school electives. Journalism and English teacher Tiffany Cavicchia found her personal finance and technology classes most helpful in high school. Electives can be the start of a new interest.
The LNC administration should definitely consider adding more technical electives to the current course selection, seeing that a student’s elective choice is the greatest source of freedom for a student and better support a healthy school-life balance while preparing them for college life and beyond. Each student’s journey is unique, so shouldn’t courses at a high school reflect that?