My advisees frequently ask me, “What should I minor in?” or “I heard having a minor is a good thing, which minor should I choose?”
I can think of many good reasons to add a minor. Maybe you took a course in an area and decided you would like to learn more. As you take more classes you find that it is of interest to you. If it arises out of your interest, I’ve never known someone to be disappointed. Minors can also be the logical result of a double major that just isn’t feasible for your own personal situation. Ultimately with a double major you frequently need to choose a primary direction anyway, so choosing a major/minor split might be a good way to start figuring it out. In other cases individuals choose minors to complement their major. I think this is fine, but I still think there has to be some kind of personal motivation there. There still needs to be interest, and I would even argue some passion for the topic. A minor still requires a prescribed program of study so following through with all the requirements still takes a commitment on the students’ part. Imagine majoring in something you weren’t particularly interested in. It would be much more difficult to complete. Majors that complement CSD logically can include things like linguistics, communication studies, and psychology, but they could also include physics, nutrition, or another health related field that could add depth or breadth to a CSD major. Just be sure these areas are truly of interest. Because…
There is a reason NOT to minor.
If you are minoring in something not out of your own interest, but out of a desire to distinguish yourself for graduate admissions, this is not a reason to minor in something. As someone who has been on graduate admissions committees and as someone who is now a program director, I look for students who passionately pursue their own interests. Pursuing something just to distinguish yourself to me is more like the student telling me what they think I want to hear. Students who are always looking for “the right answer” may struggle with clinical situations where there isn’t necessarily one single right answer. Whether I agree or not, I want to know what students are interested in. My experience when students minor in something that they aren’t passionate about is that they generally don’t do as well as when they take classes in areas they really like. Consequently they lower their GPA and their distinctiveness rather than increasing it. They then experienced frustration with both the content and their grades. This is a lose-lose situation.
As someone who majored in voice performance, I can tell you that your interests and your passion (as well as your demonstrated ability to perform in CSD classes) is what distinguishes you. Minors are an opportunity to pursue something of high interest to you. Ultimately getting the minor doesn’t even need to be your end goal if you have taken courses of interest. I was three credits short of minoring in Italian. It never held me back that I didn’t complete it (to my knowledge) and I never regretted not finishing the minor because I took courses of high interest, pursued study abroad experiences, but then ultimately decided to study some other languages as well.
I am not saying, don’t minor. I am saying let your minor grow out of your interests whether it is passion for a topic or a desire to broaden your perspective on a topic within CSD (but that is still interest related). Please, please, please, don’t minor in something because you think I want you to. I want to know what you want.