So, you mean to tell me that besides picking a major I have to pick a minor as well?!

Well, not necessarily. But, now that you are transitioning to college, a minor might be something you’d want to consider, especially since you’ll be surrounded by so many different opportunities you won’t find anywhere else.

According to Wikipedia, a minor is a college or university student’s declared secondary field of study or specialization during his or her undergraduate studies. In order to graduate with a minor, typically you will have to complete 15 to 20 extra credit hours, depending on the specific area and your college.

So, what’s the deal with minors? Why to people decide they want to minor in a specific subject?

If you’re passionate about something, but not pursuing it in a professional level, a minor might be a great idea. For example, you might have been dancing your whole life, but you have decided to major in Biology. If you dread the thought of giving up your other passion, minoring in dance is an excellent choice.

Even if you don’t consider something your passion, a minor can also serve a purpose. If you are interested in a particular subject and want to learn more about it, a minor gives you the opportunity to do this without the level of commitment a major entails.

Kaitlyn, a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is majoring in Child and Family Studies. She is minoring in Organizational Communication because she wants to improve her public speaking skills. In this case, a minor might even boost your resume! Obviously, employers will look for your major first, but having an adequate minor might help you stand out in a pool of applicants.

Many people decide to pick a minor that complements their major. For example, Megan, a freshman in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is majoring in Accounting and minoring in Management. She hopes to open her own business someday, so she wants to understand how money flows, and how to manage specific situations that may arise.

Many fields can be complemented with an English minor because regardless of your occupation, you will need to know how to communicate successfully and think critically. A minor in Computer Science complements many business or technology related fields.

Another option is to pick a minor that specializes or expands a particular area explored in your college major. During your time in college, it’s possible that you realize that there’s a particular topic in your major that especially interests you, or that you may want to learn more about. Learning a specific topic in depth broadens your career horizons. For example, if you’re majoring in Political Science in order to become a lawyer, minoring in Women’s Studies can help you later on in your career path if you realize you want to work in specific cases involving women. You might be majoring in Biology, and realize you find Genetics really interesting, so minoring or concentrating in that area is a great idea.

As a Mechanical Engineering major, I have to take a lot of math courses, so I only have to take two more classes (six hours) to get a minor in Mathematics. If you find yourself in a similar situation, pursuing a minor is an excellent idea, especially since it’s probably related to your area of study and might help you in the job search.

Picking a major is enough work as it is, so you can wait until you’re settled in college to decide if you want to declare a minor. This way, you’ll be more familiarized with different subjects and topics, and you’ll know more clearly what interests you.

Bottom line, chances are you don’t really need a college minor, but they can turn out to be really helpful. Pursuing a minor enables you to explore an area of interest, broaden your horizons, and helps you get a more well-rounded college education, so it’s definitely something you should consider!

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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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