The first thing to say is that there is no “perfect list” of electives that give you the most for your money or teach you all the things you need to know or are the most fun. Basically what it boils down to is 3 things. Time, do I have the time to take exactly what I want to take coupled with what I need to take? Money, do I have the money to take electives which are not directly related to my degree in some way? Motivation, am I motivated to get the most out of my college experience and learn as many things as possible or am I just trying to get a degree? Those are the questions you should ask yourself.
Firstly, if you decide to be on a straight path through college, stick to it. Many of us wish we could have finished early or in most cases on time and not racked up thousands in debt. For the purpose of doing this, any electives you choose to take should be geared towards your major and helping you finish as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Say you are a physics major for example, you may not have any elective courses that deal with physics, but you may have math courses you can take which would prepare you better or that are prerequisites for classes further down the road. Maybe a course in physical science would help you deal with all the names and terminology you will encounter. These are the types of decisions you should make if you are on the straight path through college.
If, however, you decide to take things a bit slower, say finishing in 5 years instead of 4, it may be smarter to use your electives to take some of the stress off. In terms of electives, there are many that can be considered easier or less stressful and that is something that every college student can appreciate. Say you have a course load that requires a lot of study or lab time, it may be logical to take a course in art or yoga or pottery, something that has nothing to do with labs or stress and is more free and artistic. Maybe you are a math major but you like to play sports. An elective course in basketball may be the appropriate thing to not only unwind, but to keep in shape. Making steady progress is good, but so is keeping your life intact.
Finally there is the career student. If you find yourself taking 8 or 10 years to get through college, which is not at all a bad thing, you may consider taking a wide range of electives, not only to suit your major, but also to expand your overall knowledge base and maybe even open some doors in some other fields. Like any other student you should take into account what you are going for and what classes may help you along the road, whether they be for fun or relaxation and what interests you have as an individual. If you are going to be in school for an extended duration, why not take advantage of it? You could learn the history of your state and city or study culture and learn about your family’s heritage or even expand on that Spanish you took in high school.
There really is no perfect set of elective courses you should take in college, but there are things to think about that will help you decide.