Will taking an elective that’s totally unrelated to your major make your study experience better? Or is it just a waste of time? You’d be surprised — doing something totally different to your main area of study can offer some great benefits. Here are just some of the reasons why adding an unrelated elective can be an awesome idea.

You’ll learn completely new perspectives

By taking electives outside your core coursework, you train your brain to think differently. If you’re used to coding and graphs, for example, taking on an elective in philosophy will challenge a new part of your brain.

You’ll explore thoughts, theories and ideas you might never be exposed to in your core studies. You’ll learn about completely different disciplines and perspectives, all of which will enrich the way you approach learning in general.

Doing an unrelated elective will take you outside a familiar environment, and will give you a broader sense of what else is happening in the world. It can also give you valuable insight into how your degree and future career path fit into the greater scheme of things.

You’ll develop new or specialised skills

Unrelated electives can help hone specialised skills that you might not learn outside the classroom. You’ll probably take on completely new ways of working or approaching a topic, which can be applied to both your major and future career.

 You’ll look more attractive to employers

Taking an unrelated elective not only expands your skills, but it also demonstrates to potential employers that you’re versatile, flexible and can think outside the box. It shows that you’re educationally well-rounded and enjoy tackling new challenges.

Adding unrelated electives to your CV will prove to employers that you’ve cultivated a richer educational background. It may also suggest to employers that you have a real point of difference, which will help you stand out from other prospective employees.

You’ll expand your networks

When you study an unrelated elective course, you mix and collaborate with people outside your core course who you may never have met otherwise. These new connections will teach you valuable teamwork skills. You’ll learn how to:

  • Work with others from diverse backgrounds
  • Draw connections between your major and seemingly ‘unrelated’ areas of study
  • Apply the expertise of your major to help solve problems in ‘unrelated’ areas of study
  • Communicate details of your major to others outside your area of study
  • Create useful networks that may prove useful during your later career
You’ll enrich your university experience

University is all about exploration. For international students especially, it’s a time to have some fun and really experience Australian culture as you study. Diversifying your studies will help make every day feel exciting and new.

You’ll also have the opportunity to establish long-lasting friendships, connections and relationships with both domestic and international students who have a wide range of interests, skills and backgrounds. This is all a part of the international student adventure!

You might discover something new about yourself

When you study something new, you never know how it will influence your values, ways of thinking or future career path. You might discover an entirely new interest you never knew you had, or gain different perspectives on issues you may never have been exposed to in your core program. Your values might be reinforced, or they might shift completely. You might even realise that this is the area of study you want — or don’t want — to pursue in future.

You shape your own education

Finally, choosing electives gives you independence, because you get to choose what you learn and how you spend that time. Maybe you’re studying really hard for your major and want to take a more relaxing subject on the side. Perhaps you feel too relaxed about your core studies and want an elective that will really challenge you.

You get to decide how you want to better yourself and your education. It can be a very personal and powerful decision. After all, there so many reasons for taking an unrelated elective at university. But sometimes, that reason can be as simple as, ‘why not?’