So, you are happy with the college of your choice. And while you have until the end of your sophomore year of college to decide on a major, you are already thinking about which one you should opt for. You may also be wondering whether or not you should have a minor in order to get the job of your dream after graduation.
Minors may help applicants get employed because they can give them a competitive edge, especially if they are extremely relevant to the jobs they are applying for. However, it’s important to note that majors are more substantial than minors, and up to 93% of employers care more about soft skills than majors.
For example, I know someone who majored in English at a liberal arts college, and her parents were concerned if she would find a job. Fortunately, she graduated with a minor in Business, and she was able to find a job as a business analyst.
Another example is a friend of mine who got a psychology degree with a minor in Computer Science. After college, he worked as a programmer but felt compelled to pursue a graduate degree in CS to avoid questions about his education on his resume.
Still torn between declaring a minor or not? Make sure you read this post until you get to the very end.
Below, I will tell you some of the most important things you need to know about college minors.
Should you pick one? Are there perks to enjoy as well as downsides to put up with?
Just which minor can help you get employed?
Are Students Required to Have a Minor?
Most colleges and universities do not require undergraduate students to declare and commit to a minor. On the other hand, it’s a must for them to have a major. That’s because a major provides a specific area of study necessary for students to be able to complete their chosen bachelor’s degree program.
Institutions of higher education offer minors in order for their attendees to be able to focus on other disciplines that are, typically, beyond their chosen majors.
Undergraduate students, however, may or may not have a minor, depending on the school.
For instance, undergraduate students at the University of Southern California (USC) are not required to complete a minor. Those who are attending the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, meanwhile, must have a minor.
Needless to say, ask the college you are planning on attending if minoring is a requirement.
Pros and Cons of a College Minor
Minoring allows students to study a discipline that can complement and strengthen their minor. In some instances, it also enables them to explore fields that are outside of their majors. However, taking a minor means extra credits, time and money. It can also add stress and pressure students to study more.
Colleges and universities offer minors for a reason — to enrich a student’s major or his or her personal life.
A major provides direction and focus toward the acquisition of an undergraduate degree. On the other hand, a minor can provide support to a major, particularly if the two of them are in similar or related fields.
But there is nothing wrong with picking a minor that has absolutely nothing to do with your chosen major — it’s perfectly fine to opt for something that you are interested in personally or believe can create more balance in your college life. Photography, creative writing, music and leisure studies are some nice examples.
While there are perks that come with having a minor, there are a few downsides, too. And they include:
- Additional credits. Typically, a minor requires at least 15 to 16 credits. It’s not unlikely for some minors to consist of 30 credits. What’s more, around a third to a half of the courses are upper-division ones.
- Delayed graduation. Undergraduate students who minor in something that requires as much as 20 credits or more may have to take an extra semester, thus keeping them from graduating as planned or scheduled.
- Increased stress. Around 6 in 10 students report that they can’t get their coursework done on one or more occasions due to severe stress — a minor can make earning a college degree even more stressful.
Related Article: Do College Minors Matter?
Most Employable Minors
Minors that look good on resumes and thus help applicants land jobs are those related to the career paths of their choice. Future-proof minors, which are those that are unlikely to become obsolete in the future, are also employable, particularly those that can prove to be valuable in many different fields.
If you are a more career-oriented individual and you want nothing but a bachelor’s degree program that can help you land your top-choice job, it’s a good idea to pick a minor capable of impressing employers.
Here are some minors that can help increase your chances of getting hired:
The percentage of individuals in sales, technical, administrative and managerial careers using computers at work range anywhere from 70.5% to 80.5%. Needless to say, a computer science minor can help open doors to numerous career options, many of which are some of the highest paying ones.
It’s hard for students who wish to take career paths in the business and finance sectors to go wrong if they choose to minor in accounting. Besides knowledge of accounting principles and proficiency in accounting software, skills such as critical thinking, organizational and problem-solving that the minor helps develop are valuable in the workplace.
There are many different industries where an information technology (IT) minor can prove to be essential. Some of them are manufacturing, data processing, telecommunications, finance and education. As a minor, IT is usually best paired with a major related to fields such as humanities, social sciences and STEM.
Minoring in engineering develops logical thinking, problem-solving and numerical skills, which makes graduates employable in wide and varied careers. However, it’s a good idea for them to choose jobs relevant to the discipline. Some of the most demanded engineering minors are civil, mechanical, industrial, electrical and software.
Various majors can be complemented by a finance minor. They include accounting, business analytics, economics, foreign language, management, marketing and mathematics. One of the things that make finance future-proof is that it provides undergraduate students with skills needed in real-world job responsibilities.
Human resource management
The human resource management (HRM) minor is typically taken by students who are majoring in business and management. It is also typically chosen by some who major in health sciences, humanities, psychology and sociology. Minoring in HRM can help pave the way for HR career paths and even advertising and marketing.
What’s so nice about minoring in communications is that undergraduate students can choose from a handful of fields of study within the discipline. Some examples include communication theory, electronic media and rhetorical studies. Because of this, a communications minor is ideal for those who already have planned career paths.
Students minoring in elementary education concentrate on a curriculum that’s broad enough to encompass all subjects relevant to the target age group. Because of this, graduates have more employment options, which explains why elementary school teachers are rarely unemployed and/or underemployed.
Read Also: 15 Good College Minors
Just Before You Declare a College Minor
If your college requires undergraduate students to have a minor, then you have no other choice but to pick one that will complement your major or allow you to explore an interest or passion of yours.
But if minoring is not a requirement, then you have to decide whether or not you should have one.
A college minor can work to your advantage, especially if you want to gain additional knowledge and skills related to your chosen major or simply make yourself and your resume more versatile. But if you can skip minoring and you are not interested in one anyway, consider if the additional credit, cost and effort will be worth it.
How many minors can you take in college?
Most undergraduate students take one minor only. Some have double majors and a minor, while others have double majors and double minors, too. Having three or more minors in college is also possible, although the majority of colleges and universities do not allow students to have more than one minor.
Related Article: Multiple Majors and Minors in College?
Is a college minor indicated on a diploma?
Generally speaking, a minor taken in college is indicated on the transcript but not on a diploma. As a matter of fact, a major may not appear on a diploma, too, unless the student were to get an award or honor for it. But some schools, such as UC – Davis, indicate a minor on a diploma.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.