They’re included on the university website and hover in the background of conversation – always there, and yet not quite. You may repeat your major several times a day when introducing yourself, but your minor may rarely be discussed – if at all.
This doesn’t mean they’re unimportant, just slightly confusing.
So, what is a minor and how do you choose one?
What are they?
Generally a minor includes five or six courses in a department other than your major. They give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge beyond your area of study. Oftentimes students choose their minor from a related department as a way to compliment their major.
Others go for something totally outside their field of study – like a science major with a minor in art.
During your college career you’re likely to come across a non-major class that really interests or excites you. That’s a clue that you might want to pursue that subject further through a minor.
How should you choose?
Many students choose minors that are closely related to the majors. The up side of this is that your understanding of your major can be broadened though adventures down seldom-explored paths. The down side is the fact that future employers may think you don’t want to branch out from your field of study.
Choosing a minor in a completely unrelated department also has its ups and downs. First, a differing minor can open you up to a wider world of thought and ideas. Employers often like to see that you’re able to combine two seemingly unrelated subjects in a relevant way. This is a sign of creativity.
On the other hand, students with heavier majors may not have time to be adding on five or six extra classes just for the fun of it.
Working toward a minor can give you the chance to broaden your horizons and explore something that piques your curiosity. The creativity this inspires is something employers are hungry for – and now you’re prepared to give it to them.