Exciting Electives to Try as an Underclassman


State College Area High School

The full course guide is available to browse at https://www.scasd.org/Page/33743.

Rachel Foster, Yearbook Clubs Editor

High school can be an overwhelming and confusing place for underclassmen in many aspects, such as size, social settings, homework, and more. However, one aspect of high school that can be especially anxiety-inducing is choosing electives. To aid with what may be a confusing and extensive process, here is a list of electives that underclassmen should look at if they are interested in continuing on certain interests.  



Though there are not typically English courses that require prerequisite electives to be finished, students interested in journalism and improving their writing skills should take Journalism 1. Journalism 1 is the prerequisite for Journalism 2 and Adv Journalism. Students will have the opportunity to develop their writing skills, publish their writing in the school’s newspaper, collaborate on the student news broadcast, and even contribute to the yearbook. Additionally, students will learn lessons about communication and leadership, which will carry throughout their life. If you are interested in writing with an emphasis on the school community, then this is a great course to try. 



Many advanced classes in the art department have courses required to take beforehand (Photography 1 must be taken before Photography 2, for example), but none have as much impact as Drawing 1. This is a course that is essential to moving further in art electives. It gives students both the technical and artistic knowledge they need to further themselves as artists, and gives students an opportunity to grow their knowledge of art techniques, use new materials and tools, and further explore artistic concepts that interest them. 


Tech Ed 

For students interested in tech ed classes, two introductory courses stand out as ones to try: Computer Graphics 1 and Material Processing 1. Computer Graphics 1 is a hands-on and project-oriented class that focuses on learning computer graphics. Students are introduced to a variety of computer graphic and engineering software packages, where they will learn 2D and 3D model animations, and have the opportunity to utilize them in projects. Material Processing 1 incorporates the use of tools/machines, sketching projects, and woodworking. The course also revolves around using math and science in the design process, and enables students to use state-of-the-art technology. 


CTC (Career and Technical Center) 

The CTC at State High offers a wide array of career-oriented electives, each specializing in different areas. Here are some of the more fundamental courses to start off with as an underclassman. 


Foundations of Agriculture

Foundations of Agriculture is a necessity for freshmen who have any interest in the agricultural field of work. Students will get an introduction to how agriculture impacts life and will also have opportunities to learn about careers, production, and the management of agriculture. Specialized areas of study include agricultural careers, FFA(Future Farmers of America), leadership, communication, plant science, animal science, natural resources, and agricultural mechanics. 


Auto Tech 1

Though this course can be challenging in terms of scheduling due to the fact that it meets everyday, it is highly recommended to anyone interested in automobiles and the mechanics behind them. It provides an introduction to the automobile and the history of the industry, as well as lessons on the different parts of a car. This is probably one of the most interactive and hands-on classes offered at State High, as students will attend shop, where they will get to work on real automobiles. 


Arch Draft and Design 1

Arch Draft and Design 1 is the core of the Architectural Drafting and Design program at State High. Students will learn to represent objects with accepted drawing techniques, standards, practices, and 2D-Computer Aided Drafting(CAD). Students also will learn the principles of interior design, with the opportunity to design a room. 


Exploring Building Construction Tech 1

For anyone interested in the area of construction, turn to Exploring Building Construction Tech 1. Students will learn about building materials, tools, and equipment. The primary focus of the class revolves around the construction of a home, with the cumulative project being building a shed. Exploring Building Construction Tech 1 is also very hands-on in many aspects, including NAHB(National Association of Homebuilders) curriculum, labs, and field trips. Taking this class isn’t just about building—the course relates to overall engineering, architecture, and mechanical-related career paths. 


Exploring Business

Exploring Business is a class that is on nearly every freshmen’s radar to take, and for good reason. This class has a little bit of all aspects of business offered, such as marketing, business law, economics, personal finance, supply chain management, business communications, leadership, and etiquette. This allows students to better understand if any of these areas of business cater to their interests, which provides a path for exploring those interests further in more specific business classes. 



Understanding Young Children is an essential class to take if you are interested in entering the field of child care or education, as it is a class that combines child development and parenting. It is also a prerequisite for any of the early childhood education classes. Students will not only learn with simulations, but will get to experience working with preschool children in State High’s Playroom program. Understanding and learning to communicate with children in positive ways to support their needs is one of the main concepts of this elective as well. 


Health Sys Pro

For anyone looking to go into the medical field, Health Systems and Professions is an incredibly knowledgeable and rich class to begin with, and is the preferred introductory course for health professions. Students learn a multitude of topics, such as the history of healthcare, health policy, insurance and healthcare organization, and legal/ethical issues. Additionally, students will learn about medical terminology, medical math, vital signs, HIPAA, and more. 

These are not the only courses at State High that are prerequisites, but are some of the most popular classes underclassmen choose to take; the full course guide can be accessed here. Additionally, you should always remember that your future is not defined by classes that you take in high school, and that it’s okay to still be figuring out what you are interested in.