How to Choose a Minor
Last updated November 8, 2023
There are so many amazing areas of study in college, but for most students, it can be difficult to choose from all of them. Because college is both an investment of time and money, choosing areas of study that you’re most interested in and/or can help jumpstart your career is key.
In addition to their major(s), many students also choose a minor– a shorter series of courses in a specific subject that are usually 30 or fewer credits (vs. up to 64 with a major) that don’t culminate in a degree, but still provide a thorough education in that subject. A minor can allow you to take classes you will enjoy that might not be offered as part of your major. Some colleges even allow students to choose more than one minor! If you're thinking about choosing a minor in college, here are some strategies to help you decide.
What should I minor in?
Take some time to brainstorm and consider what you’d like to minor in. Explore your school’s catalog of minors and the required courses and time commitments for each to get a better understanding of what’s doable for your schedule. Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you brainstorm:
- Will my minor help me gain transferrable professional skills? Certain minors can help you gain professional skills that complement your major and suit potential careers you’re interested in. For example, if you major in communications and minor in graphic design, those graphic design skills can help you land a job in communications!
- Can my minor deepen my understanding of my major? A minor can allow you to focus on a specific area of your major that you want to learn about more in-depth. For example, if your major is biology, you might choose a minor in genetics.
- Will I have fun? Your minor doesn’t have to complement your degree or help you land a job - it can just be in a subject that interests you! For example, your major might be in business, but your minor might be in something totally unrelated like guitar performance. College is the time to try new things and explore your interests!
Talk to your counselor or academic advisor
It’s important to be aware that sometimes choosing a minor might involve taking some extra classes. If these classes fit within your schedule to graduate on time, that’s great! However, if you feel like adding a minor may delay your time to graduation, or add extra stress to your studies or your schedule, it’s generally not worth pursuing. Be sure to talk to your college counselor or academic advisor to help you decide whether or not you should declare a minor. They can help you make a plan that will allow you to accomplish your goals in a timeframe that works best for you.
Declare your minor
Typically, students declare their major or minor through their college’s online student portal. Some schools may have you apply to your minor rather than be automatically accepted to it, so be sure that you meet all of the minor’s requirements, or are prepared to write about your reasoning for pursuing that minor in order to be accepted.
Have any questions about declaring your minor? Text #College to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!