After you’ve decided your major (or even before) you have the opportunity to decide your minor. Now, not everyone needs one, and surely not everyone wants one, but they can be useful. And most majors at UMD (and, well, everywhere) require either a minor or a bunch of upper-level credits outside your major.
So why wouldn’t you just do your 18 upper-level credits and leave it at that? Well, let’s say you want to take your credits from different categories across the board. You would have to take the pre-requisites for each of those categories. Those 18 credits double to something that you may not have time to do. A minor helps you to focus your upper levels, leaving you with only a few pre-requisites. Definitely doable.
Minors can complement your major, too. A lot of the social sciences fit together pretty neatly and can help round out your education with some actual application of what you’re doing. If you’re planning on specializing, a minor can help you get a head start. Say you want to go into Human Resources. A business major with a minor in Psych (or vice versa depending on how you work it) can help you cut out some time learning on the job and make you a more viable candidate.
A minor can showcase other interests you have. If you’re interested in two completely different subjects, (say, Biology and Political Science) you can make one of them your minor! That way you can get the education you want in both subjects, without all the work of a major. When you go looking for a job later, it can open doors to places you never even thought of. Even if it has nothing to do with your major, it’s a good talking point. And many people end up getting jobs based on their minor at some point as well.
If you decide to switch majors or go back to school after you graduate, your minor might count for some credits. It definitely gives you another direction to look when you’re not too sure you’re going in the right direction.
So how do you pick one?
- Pay attention in your Liberal Education classes. The point is to find new interests, and lots of people find a minor through them.
- Look at your major requirements. Some of them have built-in minors, or ones that come very close.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Even if it turns out you don’t like it so much, it’s not a big deal. Just pick something new. It’s super easy to declare minors.
- Graduation Planner! It can show you just how the requirements fit.
- Ask for help. Your Academic Advisor, a career counselor in Career & Internship Services, or anybody who knows you can help you figure it out.
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