Monday, October 5, 2009

What's Another Semester? Or - Adding a Minor

I have decided to add a Geology minor to my History major. That would mean I will graduate in December of 2010 instead of summer of 2010. Some of you may be thinking, "What value does a minor have? Do I really need to add a minor? What if I don't have time to add a minor?"

First of all, if you are up against financial, job or time constraints, don't add a minor. However, if you are not limited by any one of those three factors, it may be worth considering a minor.

Why add a minor? Depending on the minor you choose, it can make you more marketable and create more opportunities for employment. In my case, I am adding a Geology minor because a) I love the subject, but hate the math involved in a Geo Major, and 2) my History major will show prospective employers I can communicate while the science minor will show I can think critically/logically. Communication and critical thinking skills are a good package.

Do I really need to add a minor? No. You don't have to do anything. However, unless you are majoring in something quite lucrative, adding a minor would be a plus. In addition, the value of a minor depends on the minor itself. If you are an Education major, a science, social science or math minor would increase the spectrum of classes you are qualified to teach. If you are a liberal arts major, like English, History, Classics, etc., a science minor would open the doors to further writing, researching and analytical positions. The best thing to do when considering a minor is to speak to an advisor in your minor department. They would best be qualified to give you direction as far as how your minor would fit in with your major.

How do I know what to minor in? The first person to ask would be an advisor in your major department. They may ask you questions about your interest, what classes you've taken that you really enjoy, etc. An advisor can help you whittle down the choices for a minor.

How long will it take to get a minor? Most minors are about 15 hours - that's one heavy semester or two light semesters. My Geology minor is 16 hours (due to labs). I am going to split it up between three semesters (along with the classes I need to finish taking for my major)- spring 2010, summer 2010 and fall 2010. I will be taking 16 hours in the spring, 3 hours in the summer and 13 hours next fall.

With the job market the way it is, staying an extra semester in school will be to my advantage. Adding a science minor may also make me more desirable for grad school. A minor should never be a hindrance or a detriment. It should only be a positive thing in your college career.

So, what's holding you back? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Stay tuned . . .


E. Sheppard said...

When I first was at college, I had an English degree and an Art minor. I am so glad I took the art courses now. I am thinking of going back and taking more someday. I work with clay and sometimes do fun crafts... and having the drawing, painting, ceramics, and weaving classes showed me that I could pursue art if I chose to. Plus, I was able to offer classes as a Girl Scout trainer later on. So, I am really glad that I chose to have a minor too.

Joy said...

i got my employer to pay for a few year of grad school. Show you’re willing to put in the effort to advance yourself, and you could end up with money for school. i wrote a blog article about how to ask for them to pay for your education