How to Choose a Minor

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There’s a lot of talk about deciding on a college major. Sure, majors are very important, and careful thought and consideration should be given when making such a big decision.

What about minors, though? Many majors often require students to pick a minor, and oftentimes students can be left to make this decision on their own, without nearly as much guidance as they receive when choosing a major.

As someone who has experienced the difficulty of choosing a minor firsthand, I have acquired several tips for making the decision much less stressful.

  1. Choose something that complements your major.

Perhaps the most obvious minor choice would be one that goes well with your chosen major.

Some fields have an obvious connection: English and literature, software engineering and computer science, astrophysics and astronomy. If you’re majoring in something with connections to multiple minors, I recommend picking the one you think will be most beneficial to the specific job you desire.

  1. Pick something you enjoy or find interesting.

Are you a biology major with a hidden passion for taking photos? Consider a minor in photography. Do you have your sights set on political science but love to write stories in your spare time? Think about a minor in creative writing.

Turning a hobby into a minor can lend itself to a very fun and exciting college experience. While you may not want to turn your hobbies into your career, learning more about them from a professional is a great way to improve your skills and take your hobbies to a new level.

Who knows? You may even get a chance to show off some of the skills you learned from your minor in your future career.

  1. Explore things out of your comfort zone.

If you think you only enjoy the subject you are majoring in or can’t find a minor that complements your major, you may need to take a trip out of your comfort zone to decide on a minor.

For me, experimentation proved to be the best way to decide on a minor. Take a few classes in a few different departments to get a feel for each subject, and see which one you enjoy most.

If you don’t want to potentially waste credits, you can do research on several different subjects and determine your interest in them that way. However, research can only go so far; what might sound interesting in your research may turn out to be completely different from what you expected.

There are other ways to decide on a minor, but these are some of the most useful. Picking a minor is really all about self-evaluation, just like picking a major.

In short, if you’ve found something that goes well with your major and also suits your interests, you’ve likely discovered the perfect minor for you.

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Holly Nelms studies Mass Communications at East Tennessee State University. She loves writing and hopes to become a journalist after graduation.

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