How to pick a minor


College majors seem to get all the attention (and for good reason, of course). But their little-known younger sibling — the minor — can be almost as important to your student’s academic experience.

In most cases, pursuing a minor is optional, however a minor may be a requirement of your student's college or university to successfully complete their program and graduate. Either way, a minor will be worth the minor amount of planning it will take. 

A minor can complement a major

Earning a minor can deepen your student’s understanding of their chosen field of study. For example, if your student majors in fashion, a minor in special events management to learn how to manage an event like a fashion show can benefit them — especially in a competitive job market. (More on that later.)

A minor can fulfill a passion

Your student might want to pick up a minor to fulfill an interest they’ve always had. Going back to the fashion example, say they were always interested in fashion growing up, but they don’t want to major in it and make it a career. They can minor in fashion and get enjoyment out of studying something they’re passionate about, even if it won’t become their pursued profession after graduation.

A minor can offer career options and a backup plan

Let’s stick with the fashion example. Suppose your student got that minor in fashion and majored in film. Now pretend they are about to embark on a film career when all of a sudden there’s a huge sustained actors’ strike in Hollywood, bringing the film industry to a halt. What is your student to do? Fall back on that fashion minor is one idea. They can use it to get their foot in the door of the fashion industry to keep them afloat until things go back to normal in Hollywood (if things ever were normal there). Or they just might decide they belong in the fashion industry and forget about Hollywood altogether. Either way, they’ll have options.

A minor can make your student more marketable

A minor can help your student stand out to potential employers. If their minor complements their major, it can give them an extra edge against other candidates competing for a job. If their minor is something unrelated to their career field, it will show an employer that your student is a well-rounded individual. Plus, a minor can help your student prepare for an advanced degree, if that is a path they want to take.

A minor costs nothing extra (usually)

Most students can earn a minor without spending additional money or time in college. This isn’t always the case — sometimes they might have to add additional courses to meet the minor requirements. But often they can make a minor fit into their academic path. Your student should start by meeting with an academic advisor who can help them plan to achieve a minor in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

What should your student minor in?

That’s up to them, of course, but most students can’t go wrong with a minor in leadership, professional writing or communication. Those areas are important in almost any career field your student may choose.

But whichever area your student decides to minor in, they really can’t go wrong and their future self will thank them.