Choosing a minor in college is an opportunity to showcase an additional interest or academic specialization. You can complete a minor with 18 to 36 credits at the same time you’re earning your undergraduate major. It's helpful to meet with your adviser early on so you can maximize your time and choose the necessary courses. Upon graduation, a minor shows as a specialization on your academic transcript, and some colleges award a certificate honoring your work.
When it comes time to hit the job market, a minor is a way to set yourself apart from other candidates. Investing in a minor shows your dedication to learning more about your major or an unrelated discipline that compliments your academic program. For example, if you have a communications major and a minor in marketing, a future employer may view you as someone who can fill multiple roles in the organization. Just having a minor on your transcript may give you the nod over a candidate who has only one academic focus.
Deepen Your Expertise
Most undergraduate programs give students the opportunity to select electives as part of their plan of study. Using electives to complete a minor can help you delve deeper into your discipline. For example, if you’re chemical engineering major, minoring in materials science gives you a better perspective about how materials behave in certain conditions. A minor shows your interest in continued education, and if you’re considering graduate school, a minor can bolster your application.
Think about a minor as a way to discover a new interest or hobby. If it is difficult to decide between two appealing majors, choose one as a minor. You can even minor in something just for fun. For example, if you’re a business major but you love to act, minor in theater. It’s an unrelated discipline but demonstrates that you’re a well-rounded person. Minoring in something of interest may help you develop skills that can come in handy after college. For example, your theater minor might allow you to direct a community play or serve as a producer for high school musical production.
A minor is a way to gain practical experience in your academic discipline. In addition to gaining knowledge about a particular academic area, field experience is often a core component in your education. For example, if you’re a criminal justice major interested in working with juveniles, minoring in childhood psychology can be a good fit. This minor would enable you to work with children under the direction of a faculty member to gain new insight. Similar to an internship, a minor can help you learn from real-life situations, make connections with career professionals and help you learn more about job opportunities.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years. She has numerous publications with Talico, Inc., DynaTEAM Consulting, Inc. and Kinect Education Group.