The great thing about college is that there are so many interesting topics that sometimes it's hard to focus on just one. As other people here have said, your major and minor don't have to be related. In fact, you may find that you want two different majors. When I was in college, I double-majored in math and English. I loved both and didn't want to give up one for the other. They are very different subjects, but having strength in both has been a big help in my career in software design. I have the communication skills that come from an English major and the technical comfort that comes with math. Don't limit yourself to a minor if you really want 2 majors! Keep in mind, though, that staying in college for a long time can be expensive, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend a double-major if it would force you to stay in school longer than you can afford.
First and foremost, don't feel pressured to pursue a minor (or minors), unless of course it is required. That being said, if you're interested in pursuing one (or more), that's great. In my opinion there's multiple schools of thought when picking a minor.
If enhancing your marketability within in your field is mission number 1, you might look for minors that have significant overlap with your major, thus potentially reducing the number of courses/time/money required to complete it. Speaking from experience, I studied Computer Engineering which by itself, included a mathematics-heavy course load. So heavy in fact, that to complete a mathematics minor I only needed to complete 2 additional courses. I haven't had a need to use my advanced mathematics as it turns out, but had a pursued different areas of computer science, they would have been beneficial.
If making yourself more marketable outside of your field, you may want to pursue a major that differs vastly from your declared major. Foreign languages can be desirable for companies that have an international presence, for example. Additionally, unrelated minors can provide you with some professional flexibility should you decide not to pursue a career in your declared major or wish to make a career change down the road.
However, I've often met people who majored in Accounting and minored in Finance. At my college the two courses overlapped a lot so it was much easier for them to meet both requirements. I'd consider what you are interested in, and definitely look into how many extra courses you'd have to take to earn the Minor. By considering both you should be able to make an informed decision.
No not at all! Some people don't even have secondary majors or minors so having one at all gives you a leg up. While it can be helpful to study something that relates, it is also beneficial to study something new! It can give you more opportunities in the future and make you stand out to companies. If there is something you're passionate about it's worth studying.
I do not think that they have to be similar. Most people that I know only got a minor because they had a distinctively different interest in another area that they wanted to pursue through education. I think that some of them didn't really know what they wanted to do, so they studied two things to see if they could decide. I do, however, know people who do put them together to great advantage. I had a friend who majored in International business and minored in a foreign language. International business people do benefit from being bilingual.
Sometimes, the major and minor are closer than you think if you can use your imagination. I knew someone who wanted to study medicine and video game design. Those don't sound related, but I saw an area where they are related. Training and Development is my friend. And I saw someone who wanted to study both of these things as a future creator of training for future doctors and nurses. Gaming has been shown to be useful in training people. And a background in medicine would give this person a foundation of knowledge to make that training even more credible. And you never know where your subjects will cross.
It would make your life easier in the long run. Generally your minor enhances the skill of your major. It generally make your more marketable in your career field.
Your choice of minor could be seen as the something you'd like to study if you didn't have to worry about finding a job in the field. I really loved Economics in college, but majored in Computer Science. And a minor that compliments the major (Math/Philosophy, Physics/Music, etc.) might lead to a more complete education.
I agree with Lakeshia - look at using the minor for diversifying and/or specializing. For example, let's say you are majoring in social work or criminal justice, but hope to be able to work your way into an administrative position focusing on grant writing. You would want to minor in a subject that would help prepare you for that role, such as accounting. Or perhaps you aspire to managerial positions, then you could minor in Public Administration. Or maybe one day want to run for an elected position, then look at Urban Planning.
I'm currently in a Master's program for Legal Studies, and thought it was really neat that we had people from other majors in my class this semester. The class is Administrative Law. One of the other students is a Nurse who works on the investigations of Nurse misconduct charges.
Anything is possible!