In college, we have to pick a major: the field that our degree will be in, the field that you will probably pursue a career in. But see, no one really ever talks about minors or even double majors and when adding a secondary field (or two) is the right choice. I was talking with some friends a while ago, and one of them said that unless a minor will set you back considerably (i.e. more than a year), do it. There are very few circumstances where adding a minor or second major is not a good idea.
When are those times that adding a minor isn’t right? When you are a semester away from graduation. When your major keeps you busy enough and you have to work a job. I can’t really think of anything else. And even if you do have a job that keeps you super busy, that is good experience to have. In that case, you might not need a minor.
Now onto cases where you can pretty easily get away without a minor. First, if you are an education major. In these cases, a minor can definitely help. I know of a few elementary education majors who have minors or are pursuing some sort of second field of certification. But, the education program will keep you really busy.
If you can barely handle the stress of your major classes, it might not be a good idea to add a minor onto all of it. If you are a secondary education major, odds are you probably have to pick a field of study, like English education. That field of study could be considered to be like a minor. If you end up not wanting to teach, your degree will show that you are experienced in English and thus, you might be able to get other sorts of jobs.
At my university, if you are in a Bachelor of Arts (BA) program, you are encouraged to earn a minor. The BA programs allow for enough extra electives that it would be pointless to not pursue a minor. I am currently in the Bachelor of Music (BM) in performance program, so it is not necessary for me to earn a minor, but I am still planning on it. Why? I want a minor so that I can get a competitive edge over other applicants for jobs or graduate school. Also, I have the time…and I will still be able to graduate after four years.
If you are in a major that doesn’t lead to any specific career, having a minor can help establish a focus and help you figure out what you want to do with your life. Even though I am in a career preparatory program, I want to be prepared to enter a career that is not specifically music performance. As an example, I am adding a Spanish minor which would allow me to work in Spanish speaking areas, get certified in translation and interpretation, or even go on to graduate school for something like musicology.
I have heard that you are supposed to major in something that will get you a job and minor in something that you love. I would say that while that is a good thing to keep in mind, know that pursuing a major in what you love will probably get you a job that you will be more interested in. Yes, you need to think practically, but I believe that is where a minor comes into play.
I plan on writing more about my experience of adding more to my program than just my major and how I am working it out in my last year of undergrad. If you have any questions, lease let me know by commenting below or tweeting me @HannahHaefele.
Thanks for reading!