What to Consider When Choosing a Minor
The bachelor degree requires a minimum of 20 credits for a minor. Although some employers do not care what your minor is, if you don't have a lot of relevant work history in the field you’re applying for, the next thing employers look at is your educational background. Some of the more popular minors include sociology, social work, psychology, political science, military science, business, and history. Even though a minor is popular, that does not mean the minor is well-suited for you. The following thoughts provide you an opportunity to look for ways to help you decide on your minor.
- Check out the list of available minors from the NMU Undergraduate Bulletin to see what subject areas sound interesting to you.
- Review the course requirements for the minor. Are the courses something that you would be able to successfully complete? For example, if you feel the minor requirements are beyond your abilities or background, such as numerous courses in math and chemistry or certain physical abilities, you may want to select another minor.
- What Liberal Studies or elective courses have you completed that sparked your interest? For example, an introductory sociology, history, or psychology course may lead to a sociology minor, history minor, or psychology minor.
- Go to the minor's department and talk with an adviser to learn more about the minor's specific requirements, pre-requisites and other external opportunities associated with the minor.
- Talk to your criminal justice adviser. Let him/her know your aspirations for the future. He/she will help you sort out your thoughts and make appropriate suggestions for a minor.
- Talk to a person serving in the career field that you want to be employed. For example, if you want to be a DNR officer, visit with one or two officers to see how they got their job. What additional qualifications helped them get the job? Is the minor you are considering beneficial for employment in their field? Perhaps an environmental conservation minor, outdoor recreation minor or biology minor would suit you.
- Look at job opening Websites and see what they require for educational background and/or experience. Then find a minor that enhances your opportunities to get into that field. For example, if you wanted to work in the White House as a security officer, would a minor in International Studies be beneficial?
- What does the agency require? Sometimes it's not what you know, but perhaps what a potential employer is looking for. The FBI might want you to have a psychology minor to assist with understanding criminals. However, they may be looking for someone who is good with numbers to investigate financial crimes such as embezzlement, tax evasion or fraud for insider trading. It these cases, an accounting minor or finance minor may be appropriate for you. The Border Patrol certainly appreciates - or may require - a background in languages and one of these minors would be beneficial: French minor, German minor, Spanish minor, or Latin American studies minor.
- Do you need the flexibility of an online minor? There are few minors that can be completed online, such as the Criminal Justice Minor. However, more and more departments are providing sufficient online courses that would allow students to complete a minor on line. Such examples include: business administration minor, sociology minor, and computer information systems minor.
- Identify your skills. What comes naturally to you? For example, do you have an artistic flare? Perhaps an art and design minor would work. Do you just love, for example, playing the piano? Perhaps you should consider a music minor.
- What are your interests? Do you enjoy working with computers or have an interest in cybercrime? Perhaps you might want to consider a minor in computer information systems.
- Do you have an interest in forensics? Perhaps a clinical laboratory techniques minor or chemistry minor.
- Do you have a desire to work in a foreign country and/or work with immigrants or foreign dignitaries in this country? You may want to think about a Spanish minor, French minor, or German minor. Even taking one or two semesters of a foreign language can prove beneficial to any potential employer.
- Do you plan to work with the public? Certainly, our diverse nation demands graduates with exposure to varied cultural and political groups. Perhaps a political science minor, gender studies minor, or even a management minor, may be good for you.
- Do you want to enhance your communication skills? Most police officers and federal agents will eventually be asked to speak in public. Perhaps an English minor or communication studies minor will help.
- Do you want to enhance your leadership skills? Look into a military science minor or a business administration minor.
- Finally, once you have made your choice, be sure to officially declare your minor to ensure that your degree evaluation is audited according to your major and minor declarations.
Whatever minor you choose, the important thing to remember is that when you enjoy the coursework, you’ll do better. If you struggle with a minor that requires work you will have tendencies for failure. You need to get out of it as much as you can to benefit your degree and aid in your employment opportunities.