Academic assets: Minors and internships

Comparing and weighing the benefits of each path


Anna Smith

Shane Thomas, director of the Advising Center for Exploratory Students (ACES), sits in his office on the second floor of University Center.

Anna Smith, Staff Reporter

Minors and internships are two academic resources that can benefit students after they graduate and enter the job market. When planning class schedules and working toward career goals, students often question whether to pursue a minor or apply for an internship.

While every degree at IU Southeast requires a defined major, minors are optional extensions of a student’s college education. Minors usually require five or six classes, and a student’s minor does not have to come from the school of their major, according to Shane Thomas, director of the Advising Center for Exploratory Students (ACES).

“What I really would want students to know is that if you pursue a minor, really open up your mind to something that might be very different than your major, but it gives you these other skills that can make you very marketable in all kinds of fields and set you apart from your competition,” Thomas said.

“Minors are wonderful. A student should not be afraid to pursue a minor. For the most part they are only adding a few classes and can build it into their degree plan.”

Can one outweigh the other?

Donna Reed, Director of Career Development, said the utility of an internship compared to a minor varies from student to student.
“A minor can enhance a student’s experience as well as their career after college,” Reed said. “A well-thought-out minor can create a well-rounded student and later employee.”

The answer depends on the employer and what skill sets they are looking for in a particular position. Shane Thomas found success in pursuing an internship.

“The reason I have my job is because of an internship here,” Thomas said.

Internships allow students to learn the computer program of the company, how to speak in meetings, talk with coworkers and gain real experience they do not get with a minor. If a student has room in their degree to pursue an internship, Thomas said they receive valuable experience in their field and a chance to network at the professional level.

“I think internships are super important,” Thomas said. Minors are great and they make you marketable, but in my opinion, they would be hard to beat an internship.”

Some majors and minors go hand in hand

In the School of Arts and Letters and the School of Social Science, degrees are flexible and have plenty of electives a student can choose from to fit their needs.

Many times, students interest can cross disciplines from different schools.

Cody Main is a senior informatics major with a cognitive in digital media and a minor in french. Main has been studying French since eight grade and wanted to keep up his knowledge. Main hopes having a minor in French will make him more marketable when looking for a job.

“I hope I can get a chance to use it, I love languages,” Main said.

If a student has room in their major and needs electives, they can turn those electives into a minor. Students often pursue minors because they want to learn more about a given subject.

“Don’t limit yourself, don’t be afraid to look outside of your school and have these diverse sets,” Thomas said.

Bottom line

Both internships and minors are great assets to have and what is best for the student depends on their goals and career plans. Thomas said while minors can help students stand out from other applicants, they are not crucial.

“Employers are looking for candidates with experience, that they know people, have a good network and can demonstrate you have skills related to the job,” Thomas said. “Those traits will always be preferred and help to market yourself.”