When you ask a high school senior or a college freshman what they are planning on studying a lot of them will tell you a major and a minor (most likely the language that they studied in high school or Business because that’s really all they are familiar with at that point). While it’s fairly well known that students will very commonly change their major (80% according to the National Center for Education Statistics), people don’t usually talk about their journey to getting a minor.
This logic makes sense because obviously your major is more important (hence the name major and minor) and will earn you a degree that most likely determine what job you get someday. However, students should know that not everyone gets a minor and that if they change their minor or never even declare one, that’s ok. It’s also great if you have a reason to get a minor and decide to pursue one. College really gives you a chance to customize your studies.
Here is an article in TIME that focuses on choosing a minor and what you should consider before declaring one:
I think it’s pretty helpful although I don’t necessarily agree that your minor has to be “useful” or apply to your job. It’s great if it does, and many people’s do, but if you are an engineer that wants to minor in music because you are really passionate about it, want to have a break from your math and science based classes, and have enough room in your schedule, then I say go for it! It will also make you stand out to employers as a more well-rounded person.
When coming into college as a Chemical Engineering major, I wanted to minor in business to boost my resume. Freshman year I took an economics class and decided that I didn’t want to take fice more business classes as an undergraduate if I really wasn’t super passionate about it and when a lot of people will hire engineers in business-like roles whether or not they have a minor.
I next tried architecture my sophomore year. Architecture was almost going to be my major and I thought that I would have the best of both worlds if I could do engineering and architecture. After one studio class, I learned a lot of valuable lessons, one being that I really didn’t like doing architecture all that much.
So this year (my junior year) I tried to pursue my passion for art and took a studio art class in order to possibly start a studio art minor. I like my art class this semester but it is a lot of work and takes time from my major classes and I don’t think I could take four more art classes with only three semesters of college left. I am also taking a health care class now that I like but don’t think I would have time to start a minor for.
So now I’m at the point where if I minored in something I would have to go to school for more than four years which isn’t worth it to me when I can graduate in four years without a minor. At first I was upset that I wouldn’t have physical proof that I could do more than just engineering. But then I started thinking… If I had restricted myself to a minor, I wouldn’t have been able to try all of those different things. These classes still broke up my engineering classes which was nice. And really when am I ever going to have another opportunity to learn about almost anything I want through a class than at Ohio State?
Moral of the story, take some time to think about your minor and whether you want one or not and to not feel less accomplished if you decide against one.