The Advantages of Declaring a Minor

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What’s the point of a minor? What does it take to get one? Is it worth the effort? Will it ever come in handy?

These are all normal questions, and good to ask. Most students get so caught up in everything from course selection to major-related tracking that selecting a minor falls by the wayside. But if you haven’t been thinking about a minor, now might be the time to start.

A minor, in short, is a wonderful way to bolster your education and demonstrate your skill and depth not to your university but to the employers you’ll be talking to in just a few short years. Some people choose minors that are closely related to their majors and offer a clear type of vocational support. For instance, an accounting major might choose to minor in finance or advanced mathematics as a way to make themselves more attractive as a potential hire. Yet others choose minors that are more distantly related to their majors, allowing them to take a broad approach to their fields of study and present themselves as slightly more diverse. In this case, that same accounting major might minor in a foreign language like Spanish, which would not only demonstrate an ability to work well in two separate areas (mathematical reasoning and language comprehension) but also appeal to companies looking for someone to work in departments with international connections. Both approaches are perfectly valid. It’s up to you which one you want to pursue.

But is a minor even necessary? Yes and no. No, because your major and any hands-on experience you gain in college (via internships or jobs) will be the biggest factors employers use when looking at you. Yes, because a minor allows you to learn something interesting that you can apply in your own way in your major area of study, exposing you to things you might otherwise have missed.

The simplest answer is probably: getting a minor never hurts, and will probably only help. Employers like them because they show initiative, even if it’s in something totally unrelated to your major that you studied just because you loved it. (Say, an accountant with a minor in film studies.) Minors often make for more rounded students and more interesting adults, and that can translate into a definite edge when it comes time to find work. Talk to your academic advisor about how many credit hours you’d need in a given area to earn a minor. It’ll be worth it.

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