The Best Tips for Choosing a College Minor

In College Life on Apr 12, 2016

Chances are, you’ve thought about your college major. But what about your minor?

While it’s not typically required to graduate, getting a minor in college isn’t a bad idea. Chances are, it’ll fit into your regular class load without too much extra work and it could give you some valuable skills once you’re ready to head out into the workforce.

So what factors should you think about before you declare a minor?

What Complements Your Major?
Some people find it easy to choose a minor by figuring out what programs go hand in hand with their major. Marketing majors might find a sales or communication minor rounds out their skillset and helps them better understand their main course of study. Politics majors could find a minor in a foreign language serves them well. Business majors who aspire to run global organizations might want to minor in international relations, just to get a sense of what working with foreign governments or companies is really like.

What Makes You More Marketable?
What’s your dream job? Even if your major will help you get your foot in the door, think about what other talents employers in your field will want to see. Diversifying your skillset will give you a big advantage over other applicants once you graduate. Want to work for a biotech startup? Consider adding a business minor to your biology major. Hope to work at an online marketing company? Your digital marketing degree could benefit from an English minor. Think about it this way: If you were doing the hiring for your dream job, what would you look for?

What's in Demand?
Many fields are looking for people with specific skills that aren't necessarily a requirement for the job. If you're thinking about pre-med or nursing, try minoring in Spanish or another language to help you better communicate with patients. Many companies are also looking for tech-savvy employees, no matter what position they're in, so a computer science minor can also give you a boost.

What’s Interesting?
A major doesn’t have to revolve around your future career if you don’t want it to – or if you aren’t quite sure what you want to do yet. There’s nothing wrong with getting a minor just because the subject is interesting to you. If you love creative writing, poetry, or music, getting a minor in one of these areas will let you pursue your interest and hone your skills. Maybe after taking a gen ed requirement you discover you’re crazy about film, art, or history. Choosing a major based on interest gives you a break from some of the tougher or harder classes you’re in – and that reprieve can be critical when you’re trying to keep your grades up. Check out our quiz to see what majors or minors may be interesting to you.

Is choosing a minor a requirement? Typically not – many colleges will let you skip it if you want to. But it’s worth considering, even if you’re just in the classes for fun.

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