Are you looking to boost your GPA or lighten your course load in high school? Electives are a great opportunity to explore your interests and potentially raise your grades at the same time. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Photography, Art, Theater, and Cooking classes are usually less rigorous options.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the 10 easiest elective courses you can take in high school. We’ll cover which classes tend to have lighter workloads, less homework, and more lenient grading. We’ll also discuss the key benefits and appeal of each elective.

Read on to learn how to strategically pick your electives and make the most of your high school experience.


Photography is a popular elective choice among high school students due to its creative and visual nature. Whether you’re an aspiring photographer or just want to capture memories, this course offers a great opportunity to learn the basics of photography and develop your skills.


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Overview and Appeal

Photography allows students to explore the art of capturing moments and telling stories through images. It teaches them the fundamentals of composition, lighting, and editing techniques. Students can learn how to use different types of cameras, lenses, and other equipment to enhance their photography skills.

This elective is particularly appealing to those who have a keen eye for detail and enjoy exploring their creativity.

Typical Workload and Assignments

The workload in a photography class is often a combination of theory and practical assignments. Students may learn about different photography genres, such as portrait, landscape, and still life, through lectures and discussions.

They will also have the opportunity to put their knowledge into practice by completing various photography assignments, such as capturing a specific theme or emotion. Additionally, students may be required to present their work in class and receive feedback from both their peers and the instructor.

Grading and Assessments

Grading in a photography class is typically based on a combination of factors, including the quality of the photographs, technical skills demonstrated, and the creativity and originality of the compositions.

Students may also be assessed on their ability to apply the principles of photography learned in class. Assignments and projects are usually graded on a rubric that takes into account factors such as composition, exposure, focus, and overall artistic merit.


Overview and Appeal

Art is a popular elective in high school, and for good reason. Not only does it provide students with a creative outlet, but it also allows them to explore different forms of artistic expression. Whether it’s painting, drawing, or sculpting, art classes give students the opportunity to develop their skills and discover their own unique style.

Many students find art to be a refreshing break from their academic classes, allowing them to relax and express themselves in a different way. Plus, who doesn’t love getting a little messy with paint?

Typical Workload and Assignments

In art class, students can expect a mix of hands-on projects and theoretical lessons. They may be required to complete various assignments such as still-life drawings, self-portraits, or even collaborative murals.

The workload in art class is typically manageable, with most assignments being completed during class time. However, students may also be given the option to work on larger projects outside of class if they choose to do so.

Overall, the workload in art class is often seen as enjoyable and less stressful compared to other subjects.

Grading and Assessments

Grading in art class is often based on a combination of effort, creativity, and technical skill. Teachers will typically assess students’ artwork based on criteria such as composition, use of color, and attention to detail.

In addition to individual projects, students may also be graded on class participation, critiques, and art history assignments. It’s important for students to actively engage in class discussions and seek feedback from their teachers in order to improve their skills and receive a higher grade.


Theater is one of the easiest electives to take in high school, and it offers a unique and enjoyable experience for students. Whether you have a passion for acting or simply want to explore your creative side, theater can be a great choice.

Not only does it provide an opportunity to express yourself through performance, but it also helps build confidence, teamwork, and communication skills.


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Overview and Appeal

Theater classes typically involve a combination of practical exercises and theoretical learning. Students will have the chance to explore different aspects of theater, such as acting techniques, character development, improvisation, and stagecraft.

This hands-on approach makes the class engaging and exciting for students, as they get to apply what they have learned in real-life scenarios.

The appeal of theater lies in its ability to foster creativity and self-expression. Students have the chance to step into someone else’s shoes and tell stories through their performances. It allows them to explore different emotions, perspectives, and cultures, helping them develop a broader understanding of the world around them.

Typical Workload and Assignments

The workload in theater classes is often lighter compared to other subjects. While there may be some written assignments, such as analyzing plays or researching theater history, the majority of the work is centered around practical activities.

Students will participate in acting exercises, rehearse scenes, and work on group projects to create performances for their classmates or the school community.

Assignments in theater often involve collaboration and teamwork, which can be a refreshing change from more individual-focused subjects. Students will have the opportunity to work with their peers in creating and performing scenes, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared accomplishment.

Grading and Assessments

The grading system in theater classes typically takes into account various aspects of performance. While there may be written tests or quizzes on theater history or terminology, the focus is often on practical assessments.

Students will be evaluated on their ability to portray characters, memorize lines, and effectively communicate emotions on stage.

Grading in theater is often based on subjective criteria, as it is a form of art. Teachers will assess students’ performances based on their creativity, stage presence, and overall impact. This allows for a more subjective evaluation, giving students the opportunity to showcase their unique talents and individuality.


Overview and Appeal

The Yearbook elective is a popular choice among high school students for its creative and collaborative nature. It offers a unique opportunity for students to showcase their photography, design, and writing skills in a tangible and lasting way.

Creating a yearbook allows students to capture the memories and experiences of their fellow classmates, making it a cherished keepsake for years to come.

Typical Workload and Assignments

The workload in a Yearbook elective can vary depending on the size and complexity of the school’s yearbook. Students can expect to work closely with their peers and the yearbook advisor to brainstorm ideas, conduct interviews, take photographs, design layouts, and write captions.

The process involves gathering content from different school events and clubs, selecting the best photos, and organizing them in a visually appealing way. Students may also be responsible for proofreading and editing the final draft before it goes to print.

Grading and Assessments

The grading and assessments in a Yearbook elective typically focus on the quality of the content, design, and overall execution of the yearbook. Students are evaluated on their ability to meet deadlines, work collaboratively, and produce a professional-looking publication.

Grading criteria may include the creativity of the layout, the clarity and accuracy of the captions, the diversity of coverage, and the overall visual appeal of the yearbook. Students may also be required to present their work to the school community or participate in yearbook competitions.


Overview and Appeal

Music is often considered one of the most enjoyable and popular electives in high school. Whether you have a natural talent for singing or playing an instrument, or simply have a deep appreciation for music, this elective allows you to explore your passion in a structured and supportive environment.

Music classes offer a wide range of opportunities, from learning music theory and history to performing in school concerts and events.

Engaging in music can also have numerous benefits for students. Research has shown that music education enhances cognitive skills, improves memory and concentration, and fosters creativity. It can also boost self-confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment.

So, if you’re looking for an elective that combines fun and personal growth, music is a great choice!

Typical Workload and Assignments

The workload in a music elective can vary depending on the specific course and level. In general, you can expect a combination of practical and theoretical assignments. Practical assignments may involve rehearsing and performing pieces individually or as part of a group.

You may also have the opportunity to explore different genres and styles of music.

Theoretical assignments may include studying music notation, analyzing compositions, and learning about music history and influential musicians. You might also be required to write reflective essays or participate in class discussions about the significance of music in different cultures and time periods.

Additionally, some music electives may require you to attend after-school rehearsals or performances outside of regular class hours. This can be a valuable experience for those who are interested in pursuing music beyond high school.

Grading and Assessments

The grading and assessment criteria for music electives can vary depending on the school and teacher. However, common methods of evaluation include performance assessments, written exams, projects, and class participation. Your overall grade may be based on a combination of these factors.

For performance assessments, you may be required to showcase your skills by performing a piece in front of your classmates or at a school event. Written exams may test your knowledge of music theory, history, and concepts.

Projects could involve creating your own composition or arranging a piece of music.

Class participation is also an important aspect of music electives, as it demonstrates your engagement and effort. This can include actively participating in rehearsals, contributing to group discussions, and supporting your peers during performances.

It’s important to note that while music electives can be enjoyable, they still require dedication and practice to succeed. So, be prepared to put in the time and effort to excel in this creative and rewarding elective!


Journalism is an elective course in high school that offers students the opportunity to explore and develop their skills in the field of reporting and news writing. This course is particularly appealing to students who have an interest in current events, writing, and communication.


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Overview and Appeal

Journalism allows students to delve into the world of news reporting and storytelling. Students learn how to gather information, conduct interviews, and write news articles. They also learn about the ethical considerations of journalism, such as providing unbiased and accurate information to the public.

This course provides students with a platform to express their opinions, investigate important issues, and make a positive impact through their writing.

Typical Workload and Assignments

In a journalism class, students can expect a mix of theoretical and practical assignments. They may be required to read and analyze news articles, study different writing styles, and learn about the structure of news stories.

Students also get hands-on experience by writing their own news articles, conducting interviews, and even creating their own newspaper or online publication. This course often includes opportunities for students to collaborate and work as a team on various projects.

Grading and Assessments

Grading in journalism courses is usually based on a combination of written assignments, quizzes, participation, and overall performance. Students are evaluated on their ability to research and report accurately, write compelling news stories, and adhere to journalistic ethics.

The grading criteria may also include factors such as creativity, critical thinking, and the ability to present information in a clear and concise manner.

Peer Tutoring

Peer tutoring is a popular elective in high schools due to its numerous benefits for both the tutor and the student. It involves students assisting their peers in understanding and mastering various subjects.

This elective is highly appealing because it allows students to develop leadership skills, build self-confidence, and foster a sense of responsibility towards their fellow classmates.

Overview and Appeal

Peer tutoring provides an excellent opportunity for students to enhance their communication and interpersonal skills. By explaining concepts to their peers, tutors not only reinforce their own understanding but also develop effective teaching techniques.

Moreover, this elective fosters a supportive learning environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and seeking help from their peers. It promotes collaboration and teamwork, which are essential skills needed in today’s interconnected world.

Typical Workload and Assignments

The workload for peer tutoring varies depending on the school and the specific curriculum. Tutors may be assigned to help students in a particular subject area or offer general academic support. They may assist with homework, review materials, or provide guidance for upcoming tests and assignments.

In some cases, tutors may also help students develop study strategies and time management skills. The assignments for this elective usually involve working one-on-one or in small groups with the students who require assistance.

Grading and Assessments

In most cases, peer tutoring is not graded in the traditional sense. Instead, it is often considered a pass/fail elective. Tutors are evaluated based on their commitment, reliability, and ability to effectively assist their peers.

The focus is more on the learning experience and personal growth rather than on achieving a specific grade. This approach encourages students to genuinely help and support their classmates without the added pressure of performance-based assessments.

Teacher’s Aide

Overview and Appeal

One of the easiest electives to take in high school is becoming a teacher’s aide. This elective is appealing to many students because it provides an opportunity to gain valuable experience in a classroom setting while also helping out teachers and fellow students.

As a teacher’s aide, students get the chance to assist teachers with various tasks, such as grading papers, preparing materials, and even leading small group activities. It’s a great way to develop leadership skills, gain insight into the teaching profession, and make a positive impact on their school community.

Typical Workload and Assignments

The workload for a teacher’s aide elective is generally light and manageable. Students may be required to spend a certain number of hours per week assisting a specific teacher or rotating among different classrooms.

The assignments typically involve tasks like organizing classroom materials, helping students with their assignments, and providing support during classroom activities. Additionally, teacher’s aides may have the opportunity to observe and learn from experienced educators, which can be highly beneficial for those considering a career in education.

Grading and Assessments

In terms of grading and assessments, teacher’s aide electives usually focus more on participation and effort rather than traditional exams or quizzes. Teachers may evaluate students based on their punctuality, reliability, and the quality of their assistance provided.

This allows students to showcase their dedication and commitment to their role as a teacher’s aide. Additionally, receiving positive feedback from teachers and students can be highly rewarding and boost students’ confidence in their abilities.

Becoming a teacher’s aide is not only an easy elective but also a fulfilling experience that can provide students with valuable skills and insights. If you’re interested in education or want to make a positive impact in your school community, consider taking this elective and see how it can enhance your high school experience.


Cooking is a popular elective in high school that appeals to students who have an interest in food, culinary arts, and exploring new flavors. It provides an opportunity for students to learn valuable life skills and develop a passion for cooking.

Whether you aspire to become a professional chef or simply want to enhance your cooking abilities, this elective offers a fun and interactive learning experience.


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Overview and Appeal

Cooking classes in high school often cover a wide range of topics, including basic cooking techniques, meal planning, nutrition, and even baking. Students get hands-on experience in the kitchen, learning how to prepare various dishes from different cuisines.

The appeal of this elective lies in its practicality and the chance to experiment with ingredients, flavors, and techniques.

Moreover, cooking is a skill that can be useful throughout life. It equips students with the knowledge to make healthy and delicious meals at home, helping them develop self-sufficiency and independence.

Additionally, cooking can be a creative outlet, allowing students to express themselves through the art of food preparation.

Typical Workload and Assignments

In a cooking elective, the workload often consists of a combination of hands-on cooking sessions, theory lessons, and assignments. Students may be required to prepare specific dishes, create their own recipes, or even plan and execute a themed cooking event.

Assignments may include researching different culinary traditions, writing recipe reviews, or presenting a cooking demonstration to their peers.

Furthermore, cooking classes typically involve teamwork and collaboration. Students often work in groups to prepare meals, fostering communication and cooperation skills. This interactive aspect of the class adds an enjoyable social element to the learning process.

Grading and Assessments

Grading for cooking electives often takes into account both practical and theoretical aspects. Students are assessed on their cooking skills, creativity in recipe development, knowledge of ingredients and techniques, as well as their ability to follow directions and work effectively in a kitchen setting.

In addition to practical assessments, students may also be required to complete written assignments or take quizzes to demonstrate their understanding of culinary concepts.

It’s important to note that cooking electives can vary in difficulty depending on the school and the specific course curriculum. However, the overall emphasis is typically on hands-on learning and practical application of culinary skills.

Weight Training

Overview and Appeal

Weight training is an elective course that is highly popular among high school students. It offers a unique opportunity for students to engage in physical activity while also learning about the importance of strength training and fitness.

This elective appeals to those who are interested in improving their physical fitness, enhancing their athletic performance, or simply enjoy working out. Not only does weight training help students build muscle strength and endurance, but it also promotes overall health and well-being.

Typical Workload and Assignments

In weight training, the workload is generally lighter compared to other academic courses. Students can expect to spend a significant amount of time in the school gymnasium, where they will learn different weightlifting techniques and engage in various exercises.

Assignments usually involve creating personalized workout plans, tracking progress, and participating in group activities. Students may also be required to research and present on topics related to fitness and nutrition.

Grading and Assessments

Grading in weight training is often based on a combination of participation, effort, and skill improvement. Students are assessed on their ability to follow instructions, demonstrate proper form and technique, and show progress over time.

Some instructors may also include written assignments or quizzes to assess students’ understanding of exercise principles and safety precautions. Overall, weight training provides a more relaxed and enjoyable grading system, allowing students to focus on their personal growth and development rather than solely on academic performance.

Weight training is a beneficial elective for high school students as it promotes physical fitness, teaches valuable skills, and instills a lifelong commitment to healthy habits. With its appealing nature, manageable workload, and flexible grading system, weight training provides an excellent opportunity for students to explore their physical capabilities and enhance their overall well-being.


In conclusion, electives like Photography, Art, Theater, Music, and Cooking are typically less intensive courses that can give your GPA a boost. Keep this list handy as you pick your high school schedule and consider taking one or more of these easier electives.

With smart elective choices, you can explore your interests and potentially alleviate some academic pressure at the same time.

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