Why You Should Choose a Minor

Alex Pritchard / University of North Carolina at Asheville

College is probably the best opportunity you’ll ever have to explore unique topics that you’re interested in that may have nothing to do with your major and your post-graduation plans. That’s something you shouldn’t take for granted. Choosing a minor is one way to explore a secondary interest without committing to a major or stretching yourself too thin.

I believe there are two main ways to think about choosing a minor. First, you could choose a minor directly related to your major. Second, you could choose something that you’re interested in that may be completely unrelated to your major. This route gives you the opportunity to add some variety to the classes you take. If it is possible for you to go this route, I think it’s a great option.

You may not know what you might be interested in minoring in right away, but based on personal experience, I would try to narrow it down by the end of your freshman year or early sophomore year. You need to be able to fit it in with your general education and major requirements, and that takes some planning.

How Do You Choose?

If you are having trouble with the decision-making and planning process, I would recommend talking to an academic advisor or a favorite professor.

Your university should have a minor to match most if not all majors they offer, and some universities even have unique minors that aren’t offered as majors. UNC Asheville offers quite a few standalone minors, including a Human Rights Studies Minor and a Latin American and Transatlantic Studies Minor.

In addition to the possibility of exploring a new subject area, you could also take the opportunity to further explore a subject area you were interested in during high school. That is part of what influenced me to pursue a Spanish minor. I took Spanish classes from kindergarten to senior year of high school. When considering what I might want to minor in, I thought about continuing my Spanish studies, and that’s what I chose to do in the end. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I may even be adding another minor starting with the Spring 2022 semester.

My Experience With a Minor 

In addition to becoming a more confident speaker, I have gotten to explore Spanish literature. In one class I took, we read texts from various Spanish-speaking countries and analyzed them. Most recently I took a class called “Spanish for the Professions.” Through this class, we put together a curriculum vitae and a cover letter in Spanish and compiled everything into a digital portfolio.

Our final assignment was to write an article in Spanish. My partner and I wrote about Latinx enrollment in universities in North Carolina. I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with the former director of iVamos!, the Latinx student outreach program at UNC Asheville, which was a great chance to practice my Spanish as well as a very interesting and informative conversation. That kind of curriculum was not available to me in high school. 

An Enriching Program

Choosing a minor can also give you the chance to expand your circles on your college campus. I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite professors through my Spanish classes. I have taken two classes with her, and she is one of the kindest people I have met.

Having the opportunity to develop relationships with a wide range of professors is something you should take advantage of whenever you can.

I hope you’ll find a minor that you enjoy as much as I’ve enjoyed mine!