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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Roxxy's Avatar

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    Default Choosing my college minor

    I'm currently a community college student working towards transfer to a university. I want to go to San Francisco State's Urban Studies and Planning program (with Urban Geography as a double major if I can swing it), but it that doesn't happen I'll probably end up a Geography major. Either way I plan to go to graduate school for Urban Planning.

    Most of my major is upper division coursework, so after factoring all my GE requirements and recommended but not required coursework for my major I still have to take more credits before I have enough to transfer (undergraduate transfers are not allowed in my circumstances). So, now is the perfect time to start working on a minor. I have several I'm considering at SF State:

    Anthropology: The subject in general is fun, especially Archaeology. It's also somewhat useful in Urban Studies. Biological Anthropology is what I took for my life science GE, and I always came out talking about something interesting I'd seen.

    Art History: Another very fun subject (I'm taking Asian Art History to fill a GE requirement right now, and I'm loving it), plus something very useful when looking at cities from a point of view of their character (and who tours San Francisco for the gridded street system over it's artistic merits?). You also get to learn about architecture.

    California Studies: For a native I know surprisingly little about homeland.

    Earth Sciences: Geology is pretty fun and I'd like to learn more, and it's another useful subject.

    European Studies: I like Europe, and they have some great cities to study, too.

    Pacific Asian Studies: Chinese and Japanese culture are interesting, China is one of the fastest urbanizing countries, and Japan and Hong Kong have a lot of urban planners that I should be taking inspiration from.

    Does anybody have some input on my decision here?
    Last edited by Roxxy; 2014-04-13 at 05:40 PM.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Choosing my college minor

    I'd figure urban planning involves a significant amount of data, which means statistics is a good bet. Economics probably isn't a bad choice either.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Roxxy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Choosing my college minor

    I don't really want an Economics minor. What I need is part of my major, and I'm not enough of a fan of the subject to branch out. Statistics isn't offered as a minor but is heavily injected into my major and Mathematics is just three semesters of calculus (which I would need to take three pre-calculus classes to qualify for). I don't want to take all that math when I don't really need it.
    Last edited by Roxxy; 2014-04-13 at 03:17 PM.

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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Choosing my college minor

    Full disclosure: I graduated as a business major with a finance focus.

    That being said, I would recommend something business oriented (economics would have been my first pick for you because there seem to be some similarities to your major). Having a business background will help in getting a job (again speaking from my personal experiences, ymmv).

    Another option would be learning a foreign language. Spanish would probably be the easiest to learn with the highest benefit. Mandarin is also widely spoken but would require a much larger time commitment.

    The thing that helped me the most in getting a job and starting my career was getting an internship. The more internships the better. If you don't need a minor, and could gain credits through interning, that would be your best bet. Work for free or next to nothing while you can, it'll give you a head's up on your peers.

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    Default Re: Choosing my college minor

    Statistics would have been my first thought. If that's not being offered, how about something IT-related? You don't need to be a software engineer, but experience with computers will be beneficial to almost any field.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Choosing my college minor

    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxy View Post
    I don't really want an Economics minor. What I need is part of my major, and I'm not enough of a fan of the subject to branch out. Statistics isn't offered as a minor but is heavily injected into my major and Mathematics is just three semesters of calculus (which I would need to take three pre-calculus classes to qualify for). I don't want to take all that math when I don't really need it.
    How on earth can there be three semesters of pre-calc? You've got functions, you've got limits, and then it's time for calculus. Since so far as I can tell nobody does epsilon-delta proofs until Real Analysis anymore, it's not even like anybody does that stuff super-rigorously in calc either. That said, if you intend to deal with numbers and functions in any significant capacity, calculus is pretty much invaluable. The alternative is sort of like dealing with words and not being able to read.

    Otherwise, not knowing anything about urban planning, I'd suggest doing whatever most strikes your fancy, political science (vital in my opinion to being a responsible citizen), or whatever your advisers suggest.
    As I've tried a thousand times
    So I died a thousand times
    Can die no more


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    Exclamation Re: Choosing my college minor

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    epsilon-delta proofs
    Ugh...I hated learning that. Looking back on that years later it's a lot easier to understand than it seemed back then, but that was, hands down, one of the poorest explained parts of the whole course. I do not miss having to do those proofs.

    On topic:pick the minor you think you will enjoy the most. In the end, you minor isn't going to matter to a future employer; it's only going to matter to you.

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    Default Re: Choosing my college minor

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Since so far as I can tell nobody does epsilon-delta proofs until Real Analysis anymore, it's not even like anybody does that stuff super-rigorously in calc either.
    It comes up in Calc I all the time, along with the three or higher dimensional variant in Calc III. They aren't super heavy on them, and they tend to be relatively easy, bu they are very much there.

    As for minors, to the OP: It sounds like your major has you covered, so it might be worth getting something largely unrelated. Earth sciences is a good bet here, particularly if larger scale urban planning comes up and you've got things like fault lines to consider.
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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Choosing my college minor

    Full disclosure: I originally went to school for psychology without knowing the economic/job realities of it. 1.5 years in I got smarter and switched to molecular biology & biochemistry with plans to go to medical school. That didn't pan out (more because I hate memorizing random things to no end, with very little analytical thinking going on than anything else) and ended up with a degree I had no intention of using (I tried working in a lab for a bit, and wanted to shoot myself very soon after, I'd honestly rather work retail for minimum wage than lab work, at least in retail you get to talk to a lot of people).

    I got lucky I was doing part-time work in IT for a company through personal networking, and several Cisco certifications later I get a decent amount of contract work, experience in network security and potentially a full-time position later.

    I'm also stuck with a crapload of debt. I sincerely regret wasting my time and money on psychology (which I stuck with as a minor), as it offers me absolutely nothing career wise, set me back 1.5 years and cost me easily $15k in loans. At least biochem is useful in the sense I can present people with a BSc in a hard sciences degree so they know I'm not an idiot.

    My point? Unless your parents are rich, you're on full scholarship, or your minor will help you further a career, don't bother. Anything you actually want to learn, you can do on your own. Hell, no-one is stopping you from attending other lectures if you want, you don't even have to be registered in the class for that (you just won't get any credit). But something like art history or Asian studies? It's considered a joke degree by everyone, in every field, except the few rich kids working in museums through personal connections. Putting it down as a minor won't help you with anything. If you want to learn, that's awesome (psychology I studied is absolutely fascinating) buy a few books, but don't spend $200-600 per class and valuable time on it.
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    Default Re: Choosing my college minor

    No clue how your school works, but in my experience, Japan and China fall under East Asian Studies. I'd make sure that Pacific Asian Studies doesn't focus on the Philippines and other surrounding countries.
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