Financial Considerations of Choosing a Minor

Most colleges and universities offer students the option to choose a minor. While this usually isn’t required, it is often encouraged because it could enhance your degree and potentially make you more desirable to prospective employers.

In a nutshell, a minor is almost like a very condensed version of a major, and it involves only taking a fraction of the classes required. For example, you may only take five classes, but this will vary by school and program. A student might decide to minor in something that they are interested in learning more about or want to get training in, but it’s more of a secondary interest and takes backseat to the student’s main focus, which is their major.

When deciding whether you should select a minor and what to minor in, there are also some financial considerations to think about.

Here are some of the most common financial questions regarding minors:

Can a minor open up more career opportunities for me post-graduation?

A minor can certainly open up the door to more career opportunities, but it really depends on the minor you select, how it ties into your major, and how the two complement each other. If you’re looking to improve your career prospects, think of major and minor combinations that enhance each other, and as a pair, appeal to employers. For example, if you’re a journalism major and your minor is writing, it could be a little redundant – after all, you receive a lot of writing training through your primary studies. But let’s say, for example, you have a strong interest in environmental reporting. In this case, a minor in science or environmental studies could make more sense with your journalism major. If you need help picking the best minor that will complement your major and align with your career goals, you can always ask a professor or advisor at your school.

Will a minor cost me more in college tuition?

It depends. Cost will be based on your college and each program’s specific curriculum, and it can even be different based on various minor programs offered. In some cases, you may be able to use your elective credits to take classes that will apply toward a minor, and those classes will satisfy both your major’s elective credits and also be what you need for a minor. In other cases, you may need to take more classes beyond what your major typically requires. This means you’ll not only have to factor in the extra time it will take before you graduate but also the added tuition expense of graduating with a minor.

Also bear in mind that sometimes not all college courses are priced equally – some cost more than others. Even if you can use available elective credits to take classes that will satisfy minor requirements, this can still cost you more in the end if the required classes for your minor cost more than what you would have taken to fulfill your elective credits.

In the end, even if a minor will cost more, you have to weigh the pros and cons for your personal situation. Much like college in general, this can be viewed as an investment, and it’s up to you to decide whether it’s an investment worth making.

Are there options other than a minor that I should consider?

Depending on your specific goals, there are other options worth exploring, especially if adding a minor to your degree will mean more time and more money. For one, you may want to consider double majoring instead of choosing a minor. Depending on the programs available and your college’s curriculum requirements, a double major might not require much more work than a minor but could be worth a lot more when you’re job hunting. Before making any final decisions, you may want to discuss your options with a school advisor and see just how much more work it would take to double major instead.

Another consideration is graduate school. If you plan on getting a professional degree, or think it may be a possibility one day, adding a minor to your undergraduate degree may not be worth the extra time or money. Once you get a higher degree, that often becomes the star of any resume and any lower degree (especially a minor) could easily be overlooked. If you aren’t currently planning on pursuing a professional degree, but you’re thinking of a minor, consider the options. If skipping the minor means graduating sooner and saving more money, you could use that time and money towards getting a professional degree instead. Even if skipping the minor only saves you a semester’s worth of time and expenses, remember that every little bit helps.

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