Even if your college doesn’t require a minor, you may wish to select one to complement your major or delve into a completely different subject that fascinates you. The Princeton Review company also suggests that a minor can be advantageous in landing a job because it shows that the applicant is well-rounded and multitalented. Before picking a minor, consult with an academic adviser to determine if your major requires a certain minor. If not, then you have the exciting option of choosing one or more minors based on personal preference.
Complement Your Major
Consider picking a minor that complements your major to gain a competitive edge in the job market or when applying to graduate school. A complementary minor provides breadth and depth of knowledge relevant to your chosen profession. For example, at the University of Maine, pre-law students often minor in legal studies as an introduction to case law while opting for a rigorous major such as philosophy to develop the type of logical mind needed to excel on the Law School Admission Test and understand jurisprudence in law school. Or a student preparing for a career in art therapy may major in psychology and minor in art, for example.
Pursue a Personal Passion
You may wish to select a minor that has nothing to do with your major, especially if you’re confident that your major will lead to a lucrative position and rewarding work. For example, if you’re an engineering major with an artistic side, you may want to minor in dance, vocal music or ceramics. You’ll meet new friends and have an outlet for your creative talents. Michael S. Malone, author of “The Everything College Survival Book,” recommends that students minor in a subject they personally enjoy because the minor on the transcript may go unnoticed by prospective employers.
Turn Weaknesses into Strengths
Schools such as Youngstown State University require students to pick a minor to enrich their college experience and enhance the odds of success after graduation. Youngstown encourages students to choose a minor that will give them specialized skills not taught in the required classes of their major that may be important in certain jobs. For instance, students majoring in science may wish to minor in communication to enhance their ability to write reports and articulate scientific findings to an audience. Similarly, students majoring in international business who have not traveled much may wish to minor in foreign languages to increase their understanding of other cultures and develop cross-cultural communication skills.
Acquire Practical Skills
If you’re majoring in liberal arts and don’t plan to pursue graduate school, you can increase your job prospects with a vocationally oriented, hands-on minor, such as marketing, graphic arts or business management. Also think about hobbies or activities you enjoy, such as photography, fundraising or selling, and investigate whether your school offers a minor in a related area. A minor also can help you earn extra income or develop a business on the side if you develop skills that are in demand.
Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of students whose job includes student conduct, leading the behavioral consultation team, crisis response, retention and the working with the veterans resource center. She enjoys helping parents and students solve problems through advising, teaching and writing online articles that appear on many sites. Dr. Dowd also contributes to scholarly books and journal articles.