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April 24, 2020

Bio Major + Photo Minor?

Question: Can I major in Biology and have a minor in photography?

In most cases, absolutely yes. But you would have to check with each college on your list to make sure that a minor in photography is offered. The majority of colleges have a biology major, so that shouldn't be the issue. But college policies can vary when it comes to minors. Some schools won't offer a minor in photography at all or may expect you to take photography as part of a broader studio art minor. So just check college Web sites or email an admission official if you're not sure of the rules at the colleges that you're considering. Note that just because a college offers a major in a particular field doesn't mean that there is a minor as well ... or vice versa. However, some colleges may let you create your own minor or major when there are enough related classes available.

If you can't locate the information you need on a college's, rest assured that emailing an admission officer isn't bothersome and can actually be a plus because it demonstrates interest in the college which can work in your favor when your application is reviewed. So look on college Web sites to see if you can find the name and contact info for your “regional rep." This is the admissions officer who oversees applicants from your high school. On many college Web sites, you can enter your school name, city, or zip code to find your rep. If not, just call the main admissions phone number to inquire. Never ask frivolous questions just for the sake of showing interest (that IS bothersome!), and this includes questions that are clearly answered on the Web site. But if you really can't tell from the site if you can minor in photography, then it's fine to write.

Finally, keep in mind that, while students often chose a major and a minor (or two majors) that have no connection to one another, with your particular interests perhaps you can create a niche for yourself taking pictures of flowers, trees, animals, body parts ... i.e., subject matter connected to biology. Graduating from college with a specific area of "expertise" is always a plus at job-hunt time!

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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