Taking a few extra classes in an area that you’re passionate about could provide more opportunities within and beyond college than you could imagine. In addition to supplementing your academic experience with an area you love, minoring could provide specialization in your career and knowledge that could open doors for the rest of your life.
If you think you want a minor but aren’t quite sure how to justify it, here are 10 reasons why.
1. Explore an interest
Few periods of life like college exist in which students can educate themselves on anything that they find interesting. If you consider yourself a huge museum buff, maybe your match is a minor in art history. If you’ve always been amazing at crunching numbers, a math minor might be for you. Derlis Leyva is picking up two minors, Portuguese and agricultural and natural resource law, during his time as a University of Florida undergraduate. “Minors definitely allow you to explore the more intricate interests that you have, target smaller fields of studies that majors almost never touch on,” he said. Minors can allow you to explore interests in an academic manner and setting.
2. Prepare yourself for a potential career path
If your major reflects the overall field you wish to go into, your minor could provide specialization within this industry. Leyva’s international studies major is very broad, so he is using his agricultural and natural resource law minor to narrow down his expertise. “The courses that correspond to the minor are extremely interesting and extremely applicable to what I want to possibly work in, which is the administrative or governmental side of industrial agricultural production,” Leyva said. If you see a perfect spot for you in an industry, consider pursuing a minor to tailor yourself as a candidate. Jaysen Williams, the UF Career Connections Center Assistant Director for Career & Industry Engagement and College of Journalism liaison, supports minors as they give students a chance to pursue interests that could help them in the long run. “A minor allows you to add to your ‘career toolkit.’ Taking on a minor could provide you with further information and experience which could possibly expand your career path,” he said. The five or six upper-level classes students take for their minors provide them with knowledge that could take them far in a particular career.
3. Narrow your major
The list of minors that a school offers is typically more extensive than the majors offered. If you feel as though the education you’re getting with your bachelor’s degree is almost too all-encompassing, a minor could greatly supplement that. “A minor may be able to fill that void they may be missing from a major. This could impact student’s life positively as they’re able to explore additional interest during their time in college,” Williams said. For example, someone majoring in chemistry or biology could obtain many different minors, depending on what their further goals are. Students who wish to work in the health industry may want a public health minor, someone interested in environmental policy may go for a sustainability minor, or students who wish to pursue research may obtain a minor that specializes in STEM technology. Your major and minor could fit together like puzzle pieces in the grand scheme of your education.
4. Gain a skill
An English minor could provide you with analytic reading and specific writing skills, a music minor could refine your musical abilities and an entrepreneurship minor could teach you to be an innovative leader. Shannon Wills, the Chief Human Resources Officer for Tenet Healthcare, minored in sociology and criminology while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology. “I felt that taking these other classes towards receiving a minor degree in these fields opened up more job opportunities and increased my knowledge in fields related to my major,” she said. By obtaining a minor, you benefit from the skills that are in accordance with that industry or field of study.
5. Educate yourself
If learning more is the sole purpose of your minor, that is entirely justified. Few periods besides college exist for simply learning. Leyva’s interest in working in the administrative or governmental side of industrial agricultural protection was piqued by a class he happened to take during his freshman year. “Agriculture is never going away, and I think living in Florida and attending UF I’ve appreciated more the complexity that is the Florida agricultural industry, the second largest sector of our economy after tourism,” he said. As per the classic adage, knowledge equates to power, so obtaining a minor to secure some more knowledge will only help you.
6. Learn a language
If you take enough corresponding language and culture classes, you could learn a language or refine your knowledge of a language through a minor. Leyva’s high school Spanish AP classes could have fulfilled his college foreign language requirement, but he saw this requirement as potential to learn Portuguese. “I’ve always wanted to learn more of the Lusophone world, so I decided to dive into Portuguese, similar to Spanish yet challenging in its own right. Every professor I’ve had has made me love the decision to stick to the minor,” he said. Studying a language for your minor also provides study abroad opportunities—another great way to supplement your college experience.
7. A built-in backup plan
Many have heard people say that careers don’t always correspond to majors. If your career happens to stray from the expected, a minor could open doors toward other potential jobs. “Often times, I find it helps develop and foster another educational study area of interest and further promotes the candidate’s interest or knowledge in a secondary degree or field,” Wills said. Hopefully, your minor provides you with enough knowledge to make you feel qualified and prepared to apply to jobs that correspond to it.
8. Find your niche
Specialized classes, such as those for a minor, comprise fewer students than general education classes. For this reason, students can create stronger bonds with professors and classmates. “Nothing is better than knowing you’re going to sit next to your friend every week and discuss a topic you’re both genuinely interested in,” Leyva said. Classes for your minor provide you with the potential for making friends, networking and finding extracurricular opportunities in that narrow field.
9. Increase employment potential
Diversity helps create a productive and enriching work space, and this diversity can extend to academic background. If all job applicants to a particular position share the same, or a similar major, a particular minor could set you apart.“For any applicant in this highly competitive job market, the more well-rounded and diversified your skill set, knowledge and experience just furthers makes you more desirable, marketable and valuable to your employer as well as meeting your future career aspirations,” Wills said. Wills’ company values the education of its applicants and promotes the ongoing education of its employees, especially in terms of maintaining and increasing knowledge of the healthcare industry.
10. Add intrigue to your resume or portfolio
Minors could pique conversations with potential employers and coworkers. Showcasing a minor on your resume shows qualifications as a candidate with a distinct academic background and rigor. “A minor may give a student additional transferable skills which could be shared with an employer on a resume, cover letter and/or during an interview,” Williams said. Whether through a common interest or curiosity, minors can help personify portfolios and make candidates more appealing.