One of the exciting things about going to college is that you’ll have the opportunity to direct the course of your own education. During your secondary school years, you likely had a little flexibility regarding which classes you could take. For example, you may have been able to take some elective classes or some extra core classes that supported your career aspirations.
However, that flexibility in secondary school is nothing compared to the freedom you’ll have to choose your own educational focus in college. Before you’re a college freshman, you’ll need to declare a major, which will influence the direction of your career path.
College students also have the opportunity to declare a minor if they wish, although this is not mandatory. Is a minor worth it? Only you can answer that question by reflecting on your professional goals and personal interests, but you may find the following decision guide helpful as you think about your options.
In This Article:
- What Is a Minor in College?
- Is a Minor Worth It for Employment Purposes?
- What To Think About Before Choosing a Minor
- How To Choose a Minor that Complements Your Major
What Is a Minor in College?
Before you can answer the question, “Are minors worth it?” you should have a firm understanding of what they actually are. First, let’s take a closer look at majors.
Your major is your degree. For example, if you choose to major in accounting, then your degree is a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Some majors have a specialization or a concentration, such as a Bachelor of Science in Accounting with an Emphasis in Public Accounting.
A minor is not a standalone degree. Rather, it’s a separate concentration or a specialization, similar to the concentration in public accounting that an accounting major might choose. If you opt for a minor, you’ll take extra classes to complete that additional program or concentration.
Note that the completion of a minor degree does not require nearly as many credits as a major. Each school is a little different regarding their credit requirements, but in general, you might expect to need 16, 18 or 20 more credits to complete your minor. You will not need to take double the number of general education requirements that your school requires for your degree.
Is a Minor Worth It for Employment Purposes?
A minor degree might not be required for graduation, but many students do decide to complete one. One common reason is that students feel that declaring a minor can give them an advantage over other job applicants. For these students, the answer to the question, “Is a minor worth it?” is a resounding “Yes!”
Completing a minor can demonstrate to potential employers that you are driven to do more than the minimum of what is required. It can also demonstrate that you’re capable of handling a significant workload, that you’re skilled at time management and that you are willing to take the initiative.
If you decide to complete a minor, your efforts will be reflected in your transcript. You can also add your minor to your resume. Do note, however, that not all hiring managers go out of their way to question job applicants about their minor concentrations, although they often do ask recent grads about their coursework.
A minor can prove particularly useful to individuals who have already chosen a narrow focus for their career. For instance, if you already know that you’d like to become a social worker who specializes in working with immigrant populations, then it makes sense to declare a minor in Spanish or another foreign language.
What To Think About Before Choosing a Minor
Another big benefit to choosing a minor is to gain knowledge and skills in something that interests you on a personal level and may not be related to your major or career goals. Perhaps you have a passion for theatre or music and you want to use your electives to pursue a creative outlet.
A minor degree can certainly make you a more desirable job candidate and enable you to explore your personal passions, but you should carefully reflect on your situation, goals and options before proceeding. It’s always a good idea to speak with your college advisor about whether you should choose a minor. Your advisor can review your situation and offer personalized guidance.
One key consideration, for example, is whether you’ll be able to graduate in four years. Your advisor can assess your current schedule, earned credits and remaining credit requirements to determine whether you can reasonably fit the classes for a minor into your schedule.
The sooner you speak with your advisor, the better. It may not be possible to fit in a minor if you wait until you’re a junior. On the other hand, if you’re a freshman, you’ll be more likely to have the needed scheduling flexibility to accommodate a minor.
How To Choose a Minor that Complements Your Major
If you've decided that you want to pursue a minor, then you'll also need to decide which minor best suits your goals and interests. In some cases, students may want to choose a minor that is closely related to their major.
For example, let’s say you’ve decided you want to start your own business after graduation. You select a Bachelor of Science in Applied Entrepreneurship as your major. Some complementary minors would include marketing, accounting and business management. It is important to note, however, that minor courses cannot overlap with courses in your chosen major. So, be sure to compare the required course lists before choosing your minor.
It’s also possible to choose a minor that is in a different field than your major, yet still complements your major well. For instance, you might earn a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Advertising, and pair it with a minor in psychology. Although it’s not in the same field as your major, your minor in psychology can indeed help you become a better marketer because you’ll have an enhanced understanding of how to tap into consumers’ thought and behavioral patterns.
When you join the dynamic learning community at Grand Canyon University, you can choose from a wide spectrum of both majors and minor concentration options. You can gain a competitive edge in the job marketplace and pursue your personal interests with minors in areas such as business, arts and media, humanities and others. If you aren’t sure whether you should choose a minor or which minor would best further your goals, your university counselor is always happy to provide personalized guidance on your education.
Approved by the vice provost on Jan. 31, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.