What is a Minor in College? And does it matter?

A college minor can provide you with the specialized expertise that complements your college major. Before you enrol in a minor program, understand more about what they are and how to choose the right one. In this article, you would get an answer to the question of “what is a minor in college” and more.

What is a Minor in College?

A college minor consists of five or more classes within a discipline. For you to successfully use them as a minor, you must complete these courses with a passing grade. These disciplines are related or unrelated to your college major. 

However, you must have to complete your minors alongside your majors to be able to fulfil enrollment requirements at a college or university. Minors are additional programs that you can declare to further specialize your studies. You cannot choose a minor without a major, but you don’t need to declare a minor to graduate.

Simply put, a minor in college is a secondary academic discipline, another subject to focus on in addition to the major. If a student has multiple interests even interests that don’t directly connect–they can minor in another field.

Many students in college minor in subjects that support their major. You can major in a general field and use your minor to focus or specialize in a certain area. For instance, a business major might minor in marketing. 

Others minor in something they enjoy or find fascinating, but don’t plan to find employment in. While majors may require students to complete upwards of 60 credits of related courses, minors introduce students to an academic discipline without as many classes. At most colleges, undergrads complete 16-30 credits for a minor.

Also, like a major, college students must declare their minor. Depending on the school, students may declare a minor with the department or by contacting an academic advisor. Minors significantly differ from majors: Undergrads rarely need a minor to graduate. As a result, many students might wonder whether minors offer any real benefit.

Importance of a Minor in College

There are several reasons choosing and declaring a minor in college are important. Some of them are;

  • Choosing a minor lets degree-seekers focus their studies on another topic beyond their major.
  • Selecting a minor complements your major.
  • Many undergrads find they already have enough credits for a minor in certain departments by their junior year. Since a minor typically requires around 20-25 credits, adding a minor might not require extra courses or add time to the degree.
  • A minor also helps degree-seekers explore their interests and develop a deeper understanding of more than one subject.
  • Minors can also be a benefit while the student is interviewing for a job or applying to graduate school.
  • Minors show employers or schools that the student is hardworking and can handle an additional workload.
  • A specific minor is a bonus form of experience when looking into certain job markets.
  • It provides specialist knowledge in a related discipline
  • Minors are a great way to develop your skills in an area that is related to your major.
  • It allows students to explore their interests
  • It offers an easy way to complete in addition to major courses
  • It allows students to learn about unrelated disciplines. Minors are also excellent for introducing you to other areas of study you would not have otherwise considered.

Does your Minor in College Matter?

You would wonder why minors in college matter since they are optional. A minor is fairly inconsequential compared to your major. It requires fewer credits and only appears on your transcript, not your degree. Also, it does not require as much stress as your major does.

However, think long term. Way beyond the experiences and eye-opening knowledge you would get from the minors, during an interview, a potential employer probably will not ask if you earned a minor in college. They’re more likely interested in things like your previous work experience, internships, college major, volunteer service, and extracurricular.

Employers care about the courses job candidates take in college. Furthermore, the college offers countless opportunities for intellectual growth. A minor can help undergrads stretch their boundaries, strengthen key skills, and learn new disciplines, which is why choosing minor appeals to many students.

How to Select a Minor in College

Selecting a college minor is almost as important as choosing your major. That is why you need to know how to choose a minor that is right for you. The steps and points to note when selecting a minor in college are:

  • Think about your major, interests, and the reason you chose it: Consider which courses or speciality areas have gained your attention. You can also think about your interests outside of your major. Think about a particular academic subject, industry, or activity that fascinates you.
  • Identify an area you want to improve or work on. Consider the opposite of your interests by looking at areas you want to strengthen. You could use a minor as a way to challenge yourself to conquer a subject or idea of which you have a limited understanding.
  • Research all the minors your school offers: Once you have identified your interests and areas for improvement, go to your school’s website to figure out what minors are available to you in different subjects. This could help you narrow down your choices.
  • You can select based on your career goals and you can also select based on personal interests: A great way to approach your minor is to choose your courses based on your career goals. If you’re going to school for business, you may want to consider a minor in finance, accounting, or economics. You don’t have to select a minor that goes hand in hand with your intended career. It may help to choose purely on your interests. It works to give you a different perspective, and future jobs like diversity as well.
  • Review the minor requirements for specific programs: After you have narrowed your search, do more research on your school’s website about your desired minor program. Consider factors such as the number of courses and types of courses that the minor offers to participants.
  • Meet with your advisor to discuss your options: Make an appointment with your advisor to gain their perspective. Ask them about which minor they would choose and work with them to create a plan to incorporate your minor courses into your schedule. Depending on your school, you can fill out a minor declaration form during your advisor meeting.

What Minors Are There?

It mostly depends on what the specific college or university offers. Many academic fields have both majors and minors, but some do not have the latter. Sometimes minors don’t even have associated majors, and just stand on their own. It depends on the specificity of the minor program and the individual institution.

College minors vary from school to school, so you’ll need to look into what your college offers before selecting a minor if you decide to go this route. But a few popular college minors you may find at your school include:

  • A foreign language
  • Business
  • History
  • Psychology
  • Political science
  • Sociology
  • Mathematics
  • Classics
  • Chemistry

Read more: Types Of College Classes And Courses To Take

What are the Differences between a Minor and a Double Major?

It is important to understand the differences between minors and double majors so you can decide which is the best for you.

Course load

A significant difference that distinguishes a minor from a double major is the course load. Minors can have as few as five courses, but double majors consist of just as many classes as the primary major. What this means is that you could potentially complete a minor within a few semesters, but you typically complete your double-major courses toward the end of your college career.

Level of difficulty

Since minors include a select number of courses, you might gain a fundamental understanding of multiple areas. Double major programs allow for more in-depth courses because they take the duration of your college career to complete. If you choose a double major, you will learn more, but the classes will become increasingly difficult as you progress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I minor in something?

This question depends entirely on you as a student and what you are interested in studying.

Are minors always easy?

Some majors have a strict and demanding workload. Overwhelmed students in those majors may not want to minor. Others end up double-minoring in two different subjects. Some might attend a college where the minor they’re interested in isn’t offered. Minors require some dedication but can be very beneficial in the long run.

Are minors very distracting?

Taking minor courses can distract you from your major or other necessary courses you need to take. More classes mean more studying and more homework. Between general education classes and your major requirements, a minor can be a difficult thing to fit in for some students

Can minors cut into my time a lot?

More classes mean less free time. Whether you enjoy reading, want to join a new club on campus, or there’s another activity you enjoy, you may have a hard time fitting it in if you are taking on more courses.

Does taking minors in college cost more money?

More classes mean more money. Each course costs something, so if you’re adding on extra classes, your college costs could rise significantly, especially if you didn’t plan on taking a minor.

Could taking minors in college stop me from graduating faster?

If you’re having a hard time fitting in your major requirements and your general education courses, you might also discover that you won’t graduate on time (within 4 years) if you take on the extra classwork to have a minor.
 

Conclusion

Like majors, students declare minors. Also, like majors, minors have special requirements–like mandatory classes or a certain number of credit hours in the subject–to complete the program, though usually, the requirements are much less than that of the major. 

Students interested in minoring should speak with their college academic advisor to ensure they can fit it in their schedules without interfering with their major requirements, and so that everything is completed on time. Students should talk to someone in their intended minor department for additional information.

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