If I walked up to you and asked, “Would you like $20,000?,” you would likely say yes. Who would turn down free money? It’s possible you as a student already are, though.
Early on in my college career, I was taught about credit “double dipping,” the practice of using a single class to fulfill multiple requirements. I did this early on in my degree in hopes of finishing up early, but other opportunities kept me here for a full four years, and so I had some time left and some program electives to fill. I noticed I personally trended towards taking communication classes as program electives, so I turned that into a minor.
I had already taken so many courses in that area of study because I felt they would make me more employable and, frankly, more competent at my job. Now, I not only have a wider selection of jobs at my fingertips post-graduation, but I also heightened my earning potential. While my gains from pairing a communication minor with a journalism and technical communication major may not be life-changing, there are combinations out there that can distinguish you from other applicants and help you increase your salary.
Meld your talents and your passions into a niche only you can fill. For example, certified multilingual individuals can expect to earn nearly 20% more than their monolingual counterparts, according to Euro London, a language specialist recruitment agency. Or, if you have competing passions, make that work for you. Say you’re working on a technical communications degree and you also enjoy chemistry. Getting a minor in chemistry makes you uniquely qualified to, say, copywrite for a pharmaceutical company, as you’d have a background in what you’re marketing. That minor would make you more self-sufficient on the job, and that will equate to cold, hard cash.
Gen Z sits as the most highly educated generation out there with 57% enrolled in some type of college, according to the Pew Research Center. We need something to set ourselves apart because a college degree alone simply isn’t going to do it anymore. It’s never too late to start a minor, either.
Going into the 2022-23 school year, I had only completed two of the seven required courses for my minor. I selected three during the fall semester because they sounded interesting. Then, one fateful scroll through MyDegree later, I was taking the last two courses I needed to walk out of here with an extra qualification. The best part of all of this is the cost. Because I had so many program electives still to complete for my major, I got all the courses for my minor in without having to spend one extra cent.
Do some soul searching and some research and see what’s out there for you. Your major could just be one piece of your career puzzle. Program advisors are also a great place to seek out help with this. They can advise where you can double dip or help you put together your own niche. It could mean the difference in salary negotiations or landing the job at all.