Is It Worth Taking a Minor in College?

Is It Worth Taking a Minor in College?

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Many professors argue that college minors boost your resume and academic career.

While it’s true they bear benefits in some circumstances, minors also require an investment of 700-1400 hours of work!

So the real question is: in which circumstances are minors worth it? When do the pros outweigh the cons?

The Pros and Cons of College Minors

To help you make an informed decision about your academic studies, we have highlighted the benefits as well as the disadvantages of taking a minor in college.

Pro 1: Potential Professional Benefits

It’s a good idea to complement your major with a minor that works well with it.

For example, you can major in business and minor in marketing. 

Not only will you have a strong understanding of how to operate a business successfully, but you also have the know-how on how to promote a business effectively.

Even though minors do not appear on your diploma, they appear on your transcript. Employers will see that as an asset. They will look at you as a person who is organized and capable of responsibility.

Although it’s not a make-or-break factor in landing a high-paying job, it does make you stand out.

Two Scenarios: When a College Minor Is Useful!

A: if you pair your minor and major wisely, you will have a higher chance of landing high-paying jobs. 

For example, if you want to get into data science (mathematics, computer science, statistics major), having a minor in quantitative social science (psychology or sociology) can boost your resume.

You’re the perfect candidate to solve social science problems that involve statistics: “who buys this item, when is it most bought, and in correlation with what?”

B: if you choose to major in arts, it’s possible that you’re not going to land bread-and-butter jobs easily. 

However, if you minor in accounting, you will have a safety net that you can leverage to get into accounting-related jobs.

Yes. You may not have opportunities to get promoted, but you still got a decent-paying position that your major doesn’t provide.

Con 1: A Potential Burden

Don’t forget that your major is already a lot of work.

Adding a minor to the equation can mean additional time studying, and it can affect your grades in the long run.

If you think having a minor is just a distraction, then it probably is. 

Don’t Take a Minor for the Wrong Reasons!

Most college students think that a minor can remedy their weak points. However, it can be at the expense of your GPA. 

It’s best to take crash courses that don’t affect your grades rather than take a minor. 

If you’re weak at social science, but you want to become the well-rounded data science expert we’ve mentioned above, there’s absolutely no need to force it.

Please stick to your college major and get a high GPA out of it (instead of having a minor that may pull your GPA down).

Pro 2: Personal Satisfaction

College minors can be incredibly worth your time and money when you are passionate about the subject. 

For example, you major in biology as you want to go to medical school, but you’re taking a minor in music since you enjoy playing the piano.   

Granted that it’s not going to bring home the bacon, but it sure does fulfill your thirst for refining your passion and may prove beneficial later in life.

Personal Satisfaction Is Crucial

Engineers, doctors, and other high-paying professions often open a business that doesn’t fulfill their dreams.

Let’s use the example above — a doctor who is passionate about playing the piano can find more meaning in performing or teaching his skills. Thus, opening a music studio or school can bring more satisfaction than only sticking to treating people.

Minors may not be beneficial right after college, but they can be enough to turn your passion into an income-generating enterprise later down the line.

Con 2: Additional Expense

A degree program is already expensive enough. Adding a minor means more classes, more time spent in university, and more expenditure. 

If your budget doesn’t allow it, it’s best not to take a minor. 

Remember, it’s not essential. 

Minors are beneficial, but they’re not enough to make or break your career.

So if you can’t afford it, leave it. 

How Long Does a College Minor Take?

Some universities or programs will require you to take a minor. 

A minor usually entails half the number of courses as a major.

In most cases, your minor will only take 18-30 credits: that’s equivalent to 700-1400 hours of work!

An imperative fact about minors is that almost every university will require you to pair it with a degree program.

Does Your Minor Align With Your Goals?

The benefits of getting a minor depend on your academic and professional goals.

If you pair your minor and major wisely, a minor can supplement your major in a useful way. In addition, it is a great way to gain experience in an area related to your major!

On the other hand, if your minor does not align with your goals, getting a minor could waste your time.

Recap: Is a College Minor Worth It?

The answer, unfortunately, depends.

If you have planned your higher education strategically from the very start, a college minor can be a winning addition to your studies.

It can expand your knowledge, make you more credible, and allow you to have more options after finishing your degree.

However, if you don’t plan it out, a college minor can be an extra weight that will affect your GPA and lower your chances of getting into graduate programs or landing top-of-the-line jobs.

About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a mathematician who cares about the job market.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job search engine where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.