Once you’ve selected your major, you might start thinking about how to choose a minor for your studies abroad. A well-chosen college minor can add significant weight to your degree and help shape your professional career.
A minor enables you to specialize and gain expertise in a particular area that complements your major. For instance, if you’re majoring in business, a minor in computer science can help prepare you to pursue a career in technology management or data analytics.
But if you don’t choose your college minor well, it may not add tangible benefits to your studies and future career goals.
Choosing a college minor might can be a daunting task – especially when you don’t know where to start. If you’re feeling lost about selecting a college minor, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve compiled this simple but comprehensive guide to help international students choose a college minor that complements their major and future career goals.
Before we dive in, let’s start by answering a few of the most commonly asked questions by students considering whether or not to choose a college minor.
What Is a College Minor?
A college minor is a secondary area of specialization that students can pursue beyond their major.
Most academic departments in universities and colleges abroad offer majors and minors to students. While a major may require you to take as much as 60 credits, a minor might require about 16 to 30 credits.
A minor can help you meet the required credits for graduation without adding more time to your degree.
In many cases, students are required to declare their minor – either with their academic department or by contacting an academic advisor.
Note: Students don’t usually need a minor to graduate. As long as you’ve completed all the required courses and credit hours in your major, you’ll be allowed to graduate.
Do College Minors Matter?
Yes. College minors do matter.
College minors are important to both students and their future employers. As a student, you gain additional in-depth knowledge and expertise to help specialize in a particular area.
Your choice of college minor also shows the employer that you’re a well-rounded student with an interest in a particular area. A minor that complements your major and the role you’ve applied for can give you a competitive edge over other candidates.
That said, a good college minor doesn’t have to be directly related to your major. Instead, it can be an area of personal interest such as a hobby. Such minors show employers that you have other interests outside your career – indicating that you’re a well-rounded candidate.
Here’s a list of the benefits of pursuing a minor in college:
- Allows you to develop additional skills and expertise that complement your college major
- Allows you to develop additional skills and expertise in your hobby areas
- Enables you to explore new personal interests
- Gives you a competitive edge over other candidates in the job market
- Enables you to customize your studies abroad
- Can increase your job opportunities
- Can enable you to pivot your career in future
What are the Types of Minors Offered by Schools Abroad?
Academic departments in schools abroad usually offer minors in the same disciplines as their major programs. Some colleges and universities may also have individual minor programs.
Possible minor options include:
- Foreign language
College Minor or Double Major: Which One Should I Choose?
Instead of a minor, some students opt to go for a double major. You might be wondering, if you should go for a minor or a double major.
Well, that will depend on your personal career goals. A double major can be improve your career prospects in certain fields. For instance, a double major in business and STEM can position you for managerial roles in lucrative STEM industries.
That said, there are some downsides that come with taking a double major in college. Firstly, it might mean a longer time to graduation. That’s because you’ll have to complete all the required credit hours for each one of your majors.
Secondly, a double major is likely to increase the cost of your education. If you don’t have the financial resources to pursue a double major, a minor is a great alternative.
What to Consider When Choosing a College Minor
Choosing a college major is important for your academic and career goals. Many students wait to choose their minor by default after completing a decent number of hours toward one through prerequisite classes.
However, it’s much better to put more thought and planning towards your choice of a college minor. Good planning can help you ensure that a minor doesn’t add to your expected graduation time. With that in mind, it’s a great idea to declare your minor at the same time as your major.
Let’s explore the key factors to consider when choosing a college minor when studying abroad:
- Career goals: A minor offers you the opportunity to gain specialized knowledge and skills that can be useful for your career goals. Consider what kind of career you want to have after graduation and whether a minor would be helpful in achieving your goals.
- Interests: Choose a minor that aligns with your personal interests and passions. This will make the coursework more enjoyable and engaging.
- Time and resources: A minor typically requires fewer credit hours than a major, but it can still be a significant time commitment. Consider whether you have the time and resources to commit to a minor while also completing your major.
- Prerequisites: Some minors may have specific prerequisites that you need to complete before you can enroll. Make sure you understand what these requirements are and whether you are able to meet them.
- Curriculum: Research the curriculum for the minor to ensure that it aligns with your goals and interests. Consider whether the courses offered in the minor will be challenging and engaging, and whether they will be relevant to your future career.
- Faculty: Look into the faculty who will be teaching the courses in the minor. Are they knowledgeable and experienced in the subject matter? Are they available to answer questions and provide support?
- Flexibility: Consider whether the minor will be flexible enough to allow you to take other courses that may be of interest to you. This can help you to gain a well-rounded education and broaden your horizons.
Choose Your College Minor Wisely
Now you have some understanding on how to choose a college minor when studying abroad. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. It’s advisable to talk with academic advisors, career counselors, and mentors to determine which minor will be a good fit for you.