Students often face confusion and uncertainty when choosing their minor and often end up unsure whether to choose one for the fun of learning something new or if it should correlate with their career path.
Lauren Fairley, PACE academic adviser, said she helps students choose a minor that will complement their major based on personal interests.
When choosing a path, advisers ask students to decide what their interests are and what they would like to do with their minor. Fairley said when students come to her office, she shows them a list of classes required for their specific minor. If those classes will teach skills they desire, she recommends that to be the student’s minor.
She said it is okay for students to choose a minor in a field they simply find interesting, just like it is acceptable to choose one that prepares them for their career. If a student were to come in with an interest of being a lawyer and was majoring in philosophy, the student could take two approaches upon choosing a minor.
“When you’re a lawyer, you want to choose classes that are difficult, classes that can help you think critically, form arguments well,” Fairley said. “So, students choose a minor that will help facilitate that to prepare for law school later. Minors can be approached that way, or students can say, ‘You know what? I want to choose a fun minor. I want to choose something that I really enjoy.’”
The decision relies solely on what the student wants to get out of their minor, she said. Some degree plans do not even require a minor. For example, a business major is not encouraged to have a minor, although students may minor in any field.
Nicholas McAden, management junior, said he decided on finance as his minor because it will allow him to learn the numbers behind managing people and dealing with different personalities and cultures.
“Finance is the background to the principles of management,” McAden said. “Since I am going the business route, I wouldn’t take a class that doesn’t apply to what I am doing.”
While degrees in business do not require a minor, a degree in psychology does. Ashley Araiza, psychology junior, is minoring in forensics. Araiza took a different method to choosing her minor—the crime show Dexter sparked her interest in the field.
“I was intrigued by his fascination and expertise in forensic psychology,” Araiza said. “I have always been interested in the forensic side of things. I do plan on using it eventually, just not soon.”
Some degrees require students to have a specific minor. Fashion merchandising students are required to minor in business because it complements the field those students will be working in.
Fairley said advisers want to set students up for success.
“One thing I stress with students is even though you may be sure with what you want to do right now, don’t be afraid if it changes,” Fairley said. “If you change your mind and you start to find an interest in something else, don’t be afraid. Ask questions, talk to a career counselor, and use your resources to figure out more of what your interest is.”