Here’s how to pick one
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
If you have not selected a minor yet, you should. Though your major likely reflects what type of employment you want to pursue, your minor can also play an important role in where you end up after graduation.
Rameen Mohammadi, SUNY Oswego’s associate provost for undergraduate and special programs, said that one of the reasons to carefully pick a minor is that it can build additional credentials.
“Many of our liberal arts majors require between 30 and 40 credits in their major,” Mohammadi said. “For most of these students who have other interests and have room in their schedule, it’s an opportunity to follow other interests besides their major.”
Depending upon the course of study, some students can easily add a minor. For example, those studying computer science must take so much math already that only a few additional courses can mean a math minor.
“We firmly believe that having a minor does add value,” Mohammadi said. “Students who minor in math are distinguishing themselves in having some depth in an area that most other applicants will not have. The students who, for example, major in art but complete a minor in business also distinguish themselves by stepping out beyond their area of interest and expertise, to gain very useful professional skills.”
Minors also help students flesh out their resume. While it doesn’t guarantee landing that dream job, it can represent yet another “plus” for a graduate’s applicant.
“It’s a factor in your favor if it makes you more appealing and marketable,” said Gary Morris, director of career services at SUNY Oswego. “It is a series of incremental steps you take to get you closer to that offer.”
Morris encourages students to think about where they want to be five years down the road. What skills and education will help them get there? But students should not make the decision solely on how the minor would promote them in the job market.
“I know the job market is important, particularly if you’re geographically bound to an area, but I encourage folks to use the job market as one of many factors about their professional career, but not singularly make that choice,” Morris said. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way, if you’re willing to be flexible and try new things.”
For example, a business minor may not appeal to the thearte major, but it would help in case that career in performing arts doesn’t immediately pan out. The graduate may find work in managing a business related to thearte. While it’s not exactly the target career, it could lead to something closer and in the meantime, it keeps the graduate in the target industry.