How to Help Your Student Pick a College Minor

By Huntington Learning Center

If you read our last blog post on helping your student pick a college major, you have a good handle on how to approach that process. But what about a college minor? Is it a good idea for your student to select one, and how should they go about doing so?

Some of the benefits of having a college minor include:

  • Resume boost – Probably the most popular reason students choose to add a minor is that they want to show initiative and discipline. A minor can set a student apart in a competitive job market and show employers that they are a hard-working, driven person with a variety of interests and skills.
  • Specialization – Sometimes, a minor can help a broad major seem more intentional. For example, if your student is majoring in business but has a strong interest in the environment, a minor in sustainability would show future employers this interest.
  • An additional area of expertise – Some students use the minor to acquire a new skill that they don’t necessarily want to fully focus on in college. For example, minoring in a foreign language would make a student in just about any field more appealing as a job candidate when they start applying for positions. Pairing a minor in communication with a major in chemistry could help a student hone an aptitude that is essential in just about every professional role.
  • An additional interest – Many students have interests that fall outside of their career plans, and earning a minor is a good way to continue to pursue that passion. If your student has played the piano since they were young and wants to continue to pursue music and performance on the side, a music minor is a great option. Again, this can be a resume boost, showing that your student is well-rounded and passionate about more than just their major.

How should your student choose a college minor? Here are a few tips:

  • Start with the major. Some minors just make sense based on the college major, so make sure your student pins that down first. A finance major who is interested in eventually pursuing healthcare leadership might choose a healthcare minor, or a music major who wants to open their own studio one day might consider a business minor.
  • Think ahead. Once your student has selected a major, they should think about where they want that major to take them. So, if your student is majoring in political science with the goal of going to law school and becoming an attorney, it might be worthwhile to think about what kind of law is of interest. If criminal law sounds exciting, perhaps your student could pursue a criminal justice minor if available at their future college or university.
  • Consult with an advisor. While your high school student can start thinking about minors now, more important is the college major decision. Once they are a college student, however, they can and should reach out to an advisor to learn about minors that would augment their major well. An advisor can explain how your student can use a minor to achieve their professional goals, strengthen their resume and refine their future plans.

A college minor is optional but can be very beneficial. As your student narrows down their college major and career options, they can think about whether adding a minor makes sense too. It can help them expand their options, clarify their goals and interests, and build their expertise. Getting your student thinking about these things now is certainly a good idea and can enhance their college experience!