Most students choose a college major, and many choose a college minor as well. Declaring a minor as well as a major can serve several purposes. Learn what to look for when choosing a minor to compliment your major in this article.

While choosing a major may involve specific career training or, even if not specific, move a student towards career-oriented goals, choosing a minor is not even required. But declaring a minor as well as a major can serve several purposes.

Extending/Complementing the Major

First, a minor can extend the scope of the major. By choosing to minor in a related, but separate field, a student can complement their main course of studies. For example, one could major in a theoretical study and minor in the applied side of itâ€"or vice versa. In the first case, an example would be majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in, say, Biomedical Engineering. On the other hand, one could major in social work and minor in the history of ideas.

Other relationships are possible, too. Virtually any science can be complemented by a minor in mathematics, as can business and economics. And most humanities subjects could gain some underpinning from a minor in philosophy. A minor in writing or journalism can help with the presentational aspects of many jobs. Many jobs require reports and frequent written and/or oral exchanges, and a minor in writing or some other communications field can be very helpful.

A minor in a foreign language may prepare a student for employment or further study overseas, as well as being desirable for doing research on texts written in that language, communicating with colleagues who speak that language, etc. It can also keep continuity with a skill a student began in high school or even junior high.

Business is a minor that can be combined with many majors, for those who are interested in administrative positions or who wish to start their own company. Statistics is another minor that can tie-in well with a wide variety of majors, as is computer science, since many programming jobs deal not only with the computer end but also with the software content.

Minors that help students understand the human condition can tie-in to many majors. Areas such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology can extend the student's general abilities to work with and get along with people from different backgrounds and cultures. History is another minor that can help students come to a greater appreciation of people and placesâ€"both those close to home and those far away.

Balancing the Major

Another reason to take a minor is to do something completely different, either to achieve personal balance or fulfill some other need. For example, many students play an instrument through elementary and secondary school but it may not be part of their primary career plans if they are heading towards, for example, the sciences. A minor in music would be one way to continue that interest. Students who have acted “on the side,” so to speak, might enjoy a drama minor.

A humanities student, on the other hand, might venture to take botany or astronomy or architecture as a way of balancing his or her main focus. A student in any subject might just love some area. For example, anyone might just have an affinity for drawing or painting or think it would be cool to learn to use a potter's wheel.

Whether or not a student chooses to declare a minor and what purpose it fulfills for him or her will depend upon the student's personal goals and dreams, his or her major and career aspirations, and the offerings at the college.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

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