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Not-so-minor considerations: The nitty gritty business of college minors

College minor
Should you declare a college minor? Source: Shutterstock

Are you planning to study abroad in the US? Pursuing your undergraduate degree in the land of opportunity typically entails choosing a college major during the application process or by your sophomore year, depending on the institution. 

However, some colleges also give students the option to pursue a minor, or a secondary academic discipline. While choosing your major requires careful consideration – you’ll be spending the majority of your time studying the discipline, after all – for some students, less thought is given to deciding their minor.

However, experts believe college students shouldn’t overlook the importance of determining a minor.

Potential benefits of a college minor

A minor may help graduates stand out in a competitive job market. Source: Shutterstock

There’s a lot less pressure associated with choosing a minor, but you may want to choose one that complements your primary area of study to diversify your educational portfolio and enhance your marketability, or one that reflects your personal interests, depending on your goal. 

Micah Sadigh, Psychology Professor and Department Chair at Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania, told US News & World Report: “I think of a minor as an interdisciplinary link. It links you, connects you to another discipline and changes, expands how you think about disciplines, but also, expands how you think about life, people, working with people, creativity and how creativity can manifest itself differently.”

Meanwhile, Jeremy Fisher, Director of the John P. Fahey Career Center at Creighton University in Nebraska, advises that students should “research occupations that are a good fit for them and utilise their skills, values and interests well, but also look at the job outlook. Look for those occupations and how you can complement your academic studies to help prepare for a career in not only one field but multiple fields.”

For instance, business majors may find that choosing a minor in marketing or a foreign language can be beneficial. Marketing could help your business career while learning a foreign language can be useful in international business.

Not-so-minor considerations

So, given the choice, should you choose a minor if your institution permits it?

The minor requirements at colleges may vary, but if your major has a gruelling workload, you may want to eschew the minor or risk jeopardising your grades. If completing your studies within a specific time frame is important to you, you may want to ensure your minor doesn’t take too long to complete and delay your graduation date. 

Do your research and speak to your academic advisor to help you decide when you should declare your minor to help you prepare accordingly. 

You may also want to figure out if the minor you choose can enhance your employability. Otherwise, the additional time and cost it takes to complete your minor may not be worth the effort.

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