If you’re a student fresh out of high school considering pursuing an undergraduate degree, chances are you will come across different terms you will not understand. Because pursuing a college degree is one of the most significant decisions you make in your life, you must understand how things function before opting for something.
Students who plan on studying in the U.S. are presented with two options for an undergraduate degree: a major and a minor. We must review each one thoroughly and side by side to better comprehend the differences between the two. Keep reading to find out your options regarding a college major vs. a minor. To get an idea of some of the challenges students may face, explore a list of the hardest college majors.
What Is a Major In University?
The major you choose in college or university is what makes the core aspect of your studies. A fair part of the classes you need to take to complete your major is determined by the university you enroll in. The kind of classes you take depends on the major you pick. Completing a major in college or university will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need for entry-level positions in a field or industry related to your particular major.
How to choose a major
As we have already mentioned: a major is essentially the critical aspect of your undergraduate studies. With this in mind, it goes without saying that you should choose a major carefully and only after you have weighed your options.
The major you pick will lay the foundation of your future career in a particular field or industry. Because this is such an important decision, colleges and universities will give students plenty of time to pick a major. There are a few things to consider before selecting a major to ensure you make the right choice. If you’re curious about the potential financial returns, you might want to explore some insights into the highest paying majors available.
Things to consider when choosing a college major
Because the idea of pursuing a college degree might be overwhelming, you can always use some tips to help you choose a major.
The first and most important thing to remember is to pick a major in an area you are interested in. Start this process by making a list of majors that seem attractive to you or fascinate you and another list of majors you are interested in based on your abilities. When it comes to choosing a major in university, the possibilities are virtually endless. There are literature majors for those passionate about reading and writing, information technology or computer science majors for those interested in technology, etc.
It is also advisable to consult with different professionals in the fields you are interested in to have a better insight into the field. Consulting with people already in the industry will help you significantly with your decision-making.
Lastly, research the majors that interest you and the careers they generate to see employment options and job outlooks after graduation.
Will a major dictate your profession?
The major you pick will not determine your professional career. Sure, you can choose a major related to your chosen career, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, according to the Washington Post, only 27% of college graduates work in a field related to their major.
Can you change your major in college?
Yes, you can change your college major; it is a fairly common practice among students. The switch from one major to another can happen for different reasons, like new skills, preferences, etc. While switching majors is normal, you should remember that timing is everything. If you change your major too late during your studies, you are essentially delaying your graduation.
What Is a Minor In University?
A college or university minor is a secondary concentration of your undergraduate studies. You can choose a minor that is connected to your major or some aspect of it. A university minor can also be entirely different from your major in a separate field that interests you. The number of classes you need to take to complete your minor is determined by the university you enroll in. Similar to a major, the courses you take depend on the minor you pick.
How to choose a minor
If you are interested in picking a minor for your undergraduate studies but don’t know where to start, we are here to help. You need to know a few things about a university minor that will help you choose one. A university minor is optional and will take less of your time than a major to complete as you have fewer classes you need to take. The kind of university minor you pick will depend on your preferences, and you can even choose more than one if your university allows you to. When selecting a minor, you can go one of two ways: pick something related to your major or something different.
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Things to consider when choosing a college minor
Sometimes, having too many options you can go for can render you overwhelmed—this includes choosing a university minor. Completing a university minor is a great way to complement your major. The minor you pick can be directly related to your studies and the things you are passionate about. A university minor doesn’t have to be associated with a major. In fact, if there is something else you are interested in other than your major, minoring in that field is an excellent idea.
Can you change your minor in college?
At one point in our lives, we have all been stuck with a decision we made, wishing we could change it. One of the best things about choosing a minor in university is that you can change it or drop it altogether if you don’t like the other options. All you need to do is consult your advisor about the steps you need to take to make the switch. If, for some reason, you find yourself too overwhelmed and wishing you had not picked a university minor at all, you can request to cancel your minor.
Should you get a college minor?
If you have the opportunity to minor in college and know that you can put the time and effort into it, then you should go for it. Minors in college will probably not be a job requirement for you in the future. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that because it is optional, minoring in college can help by giving you a competitive edge when you enter the workforce. A college minor, especially one related to your career, will also prove to potential employers that you are willing to do whatever it takes to expand your knowledge and skill set.
College Major And Minor Combinations
The best way to combine a college major and a minor is to major in a more extensive field and minor to specialize in a concentrated area of that field. Some of the most popular university major and minor combinations students go for include:
- A major in Finance + a minor in Computer Science;
- A major in Political Science + A minor in International Relations;
- A major in Economics + A minor in Statistics;
- A major in Marketing + A minor in Communication;
- A major in Business + A minor in Psychology, etc.
Major vs. Minor: What’s the Difference?
The most significant difference between a university major and a minor is their specific role in your undergraduate studies. While a university major is your main field of study, a university minor is essentially a second (or third) concentration.
Typically, a university major requires more time or credit hours to complete than a minor. At the end of your studies, your graduation certificate will only show your major. However, you can add both your major and minor as qualifications in your resume.
Students who major or minor during their undergraduate studies expand their knowledge and develop new skills. Thus, by completing a major or minor (or both), you will lay a solid foundation for your future career, i.e., invest in your future.