Tips for Choosing a Minor

While having a declared major by the time of graduation is a mandatory part of college, some students may choose a minor in addition. Some people can even double major, but for the rest of us, we may need something a little more doable in four years. Basically, a minor is just another field of study that takes fewer credits to complete. There’s usually a lot of options and things to consider during the process of choosing a minor. It took me a while to pick mine, so I’ve compiled some tips to make the process easier for you.


1. Know why you want a minor

The list of potential minors can be very daunting and many people have no idea what to look for. I was one of those people because I was not exactly sure what I wanted out of a minor. People declare minors for a multitude of reasons, so you should have an idea of why you want one. Some possible reasons include needing something different than your major, needing something that complements your major, wanting something that will be helpful in satisfying core requirements, or just wanting to explore the classes at your university, etc. Once you have your reason, narrowing down the options will be much easier.  For me, I needed a creative outlet outside of my marketing major. I ultimately chose theater because it is something creative that I am passionate, and will also help satisfy core and elective requirements for my university. I am very happy with my choice because I know it is exactly what I hoped for.


2. Check the requirements

Every minor program is different, so make sure it fits with your schedule. Some programs will require as little as three courses while some will be more extensive with 18 credits and labs. Always make sure that you are willing to do the work to satisfy the minor and that it won’t add too much extra stress on you. Personally, I was originally looking at science minors but realized those would have just been too much for my schedule to handle. Be honest with yourself and how much effort you can give to a minor.


3. Talk with department chairs

I met with a lot of different chairs when picking my minor. They are the experts, so ask them your questions! They will be happy to help and can give you a feel for the department as a whole.


4. Don’t rush it

I know it’s exciting to have a minor, but make sure you take time to carefully choose your minor. I would also advise against declaring two at the same time. Just stick to one at first, probably for a semester or so. Then if you still want the other minor, add it! If you realize that one minor is plenty, then you just saved yourself a whole lot of extra stress. It’s a win-win.


5. Compare your options

You’ll probably narrow your list down to two or three minors, but you’ll only want to declare one at first. I would personally make pros and cons of each minor and compare them. I know for me, it really came down to what fit my schedule best and what I felt more interested in. Also, follow your gut- it’s usually right. The best minor for you will make itself known, so just trust yourself and your instincts.