How Declaring a Minor can be a Major Decision

“What’s your major?”

From now until you graduate, it’s going to be the question of the day (if it isn’t already). Extended family, new classmates, and professors all seem to care about your primary field of study, but the college minor often gets the short end of the stick—at least as far as recognition goes. Despite this, deciding on a minor is an important (and sometimes fun) decision to make in college. Graduating with a minor in addition to a major can make you more marketable to prospective employers, while simultaneously giving you the opportunity to pursue another area of interest.

  •  What is a Minor?

Think of a minor as a mini major. When you decide to declare a minor, you will be required to complete a certain number of hours in that subject (the number of hours or classes will vary from minor to minor). When you graduate, the minor will be listed on your transcripts (though not necessarily on your diploma).

  •  When is the Best Time to Declare a Minor?

Some minors must be declared by a certain semester (depending on how many semesters it will take to complete the minor). Some students declare a minor during their freshman year of college, while others take a few classes in the field before declaring a minor in that subject. Talk with your academic adviser about your interests and the possible minors related to them. He or she will be able to guide you towards declaring the minor that is right for you while showing you how it can best fit into your schedule.

  •  How do I Choose the Right Minor?

Many students choose minors that are complementary to their majors. For example, a student may be majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Biology. These two subjects go together and can make the student more marketable when it comes time to apply for jobs in the medical field. Other students choose to minor in something that they are interested in, regardless on whether or not it fits with their major (for example, a student who is majoring in Mathematics with a minor in Ancient History). If you are on the fence about whether or not you want to major in a subject, take a few classes to see if your interest peaks. Since declaring a minor is less significant than declaring a major, it’s okay to dabble a little and explore what you might be interested in.

  •  What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Having a Double Minor? A Triple Minor?

The main advantage of having a double or triple minor in similar or complementary subjects is that your passion and dedication will shine on a resume.

But, keep in mind that declaring a minor can be more of a commitment than you might think. Make sure that you are familiar with each class that is required in a minor and that you have enough time in your schedule to complete all of the requirements. It is possible to have a minor in more than one subject, but the more minors you have, the less amount of time you’ll have to complete your general education requirements and enroll in “fun” classes (underwater basket weaving, anyone?). With that being said, be careful not to take on more than you can handle.

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Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in News-Editorial Journalism with an interdisciplinary minor in Leadership Studies. Emma enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and snuggling up on the couch with her cat, “Louie.” She also spends her time volunteering and hanging out with family and friends.
Emma Weissmann

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