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Choosing a Minor That Can Have a Major Impact

One of the most, if not the most, important decisions a student will make throughout their academic career is what field of study to focus their academic efforts towards. In other words, this would be the selection of their major. The major that one chooses determines what career fields they will be most prepared to enter, and their competitiveness in the job market as they pursue those careers. That being said, it is no great secret that simply majoring in a subject associated with a career that one desires is a surefire gateway to that career. Many majors that have a good reputation for their career prospects and earning potential, such as business or accounting, have become highly saturated and those graduating with those degrees will find themselves pitted against countless other new graduates in the job market, tasked with finding a way to differentiate themselves to employers on their resumes and in interviews. Today, we will be discussing one tool that current students can add to their arsenal to help outshine the competition in their future job searches: the minor.

A college minor may not seem like it may be all that impactful at first glance, as depending on the minor, the amount of credits it requires may not even seem indicative of a significant level of knowledge in the subject. However, when chosen skillfully a minor can have a major impact on the professional skills that you can develop to increase your potential for career advancement, and how employers view you as an applicant. Even so, not all minors are created equal. So here’s four different categories of minors that you should consider taking on during your college career.

A Minor in a Technology-Related Field

A minor in a technology related field, especially computer science, can hold great value over the course of one’s career. As technology advances, many companies will be attempting to increase the efficiency of their day-to-day processes, and proficiency with the methods with which they intend to do so is quite an attractive trait in a job applicant. That being said, if you intend to work with technology primarily in your career, as opposed to using technological skills to enhance your primary set of skills, it would be best to choose a technology major rather than minor in it.

A Minor in a Foreign Language

While I believe that a major in a foreign language is a bit too narrow as a field of study to translate to a good number of job prospects, as a minor it is excellent. This is especially so if you intend to work internationally within your desired career field. If you intend on majoring in business and have ambitions to go global, developing even a conversational level of proficiency in another language will never hurt your prospects. Furthermore, employers see potential employees as investments, and they want to make the investment that gives them the most returns. If it comes down to you and an applicant with very similar qualifications, knowing one more language than them could be the thing that tips the scales in your favor.

A Minor that Makes your Career Goals and Skills Clearer to Employers

Some majors like mathematics are quite solid when it comes to career prospects and mid-career earning potential according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but people with these degrees may struggle early on. Specifically, they may struggle with getting employers to see how their degree and knowledge base will make them an asset, as their degree appears to be too general. Adding a concentration or a minor can alleviate this problem. If you were to major in mathematics and minor in finance or business, you can indicate your interest and skill in those fields. A major in business accompanied by a minor in computer science can demonstrate knowledge of technology and show that you’re a strong candidate to work in a company that makes advances in, and requires marketing of, new technologies.

A Minor in an Area of Study that You Love

The last recommendation I can give is to minor in something that you simply enjoy learning about. A college education is not something one gets on a whim, and unless you have a gold mine you plan on cashing in on, it’s a pretty expensive decision to make. Many people forego majoring in something they’re more passionate about, in favor of something that has more certainty in terms of job security. I feel that this is a very practical decision and support it, but understand that there are people who may regret not taking the chance to pursue their passion in some academic capacity. I feel that a minor in your passion could offer some fulfillment as well as make you seem more interesting and human to potential employers. After all, for whatever reason, a lot of people don’t think someone who graduates with a degree in mechanical engineering would also be interested in classical English literature or art history.

Hopefully, this article has given you some thought to whether or not a minor will be a worthwhile pursuit in your academic career. Be sure that if you do elect to have a minor, it’s best to declare it by the end of your sophomore year, while you still have more time and flexibility to complete it in addition to your major. If you have further questions or uncertainties, your academic advisor can point you in the right direction.

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