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Maybe you already know exactly what you want to study once you graduate high school. Perhaps you're a current first-year student who is still undecided. You may have friends or relatives — or even a little voice inside your head! — urging you toward specific degrees and majors. It's all about setting yourself up for the life you want after college, which leads some to look at English a bit skeptically, as if it's not "practical" enough. Well, I'm here to tell you that the skills you'll gain while earning a degree in English make it one of the most versatile degrees you can earn. Here are three skills English majors will attain and how each can help you in the workplace.
As an English major, you'll be tasked with dissecting some of the greatest stories ever told — and those stories are full of symbols and themes that you'll often have to interpret in your own way. To do this, you'll have to think critically and analytically in order to support your opinions and make your case. Working these muscles over four years will help you gain an understanding of how to create and frame a strong argument, which is a talent that's useful no matter the industry in which you land, whether it be law, teaching or even medicine.
English majors are assigned copious amounts of reading and writing. Don't be surprised if you have a professor who assigns hundreds of pages of reading in one week! Additionally, don't let it shock you when you have several (very) long term papers due all at once. Instead, look on the bright side: Meeting these strict deadlines will help you hone your time management skills in order to turn all of your assignments in on time. In fact, learning to spend your time wisely is likely what will keep you afloat throughout the semester. That's not only a priceless life skill, but it's one that's highly valued in the workplace, especially when others are relying on your work.
Whether through class discussion or formal papers, as an English major you're going to have to learn how to communicate your points efficiently and effectively given your target audience. And in our increasingly varied workplaces, those flexible communication skills have never been more valuable. Whether you're bringing up points in a meeting, leading a teleconference with a PowerPoint deck, reiterating an agenda over email or working on a marketing campaign, employers are looking for candidates who can communicate across any medium.
English majors spend four years sharpening their writing, communication and grammar skills, ultimately allowing them to use language as their tool to craft clear and concise messaging. That's built upon by the opportunity to practice modifying one's language, tone and style, which can certainly come in handy when dealing with more creative fields.
Speaking of fields, by this point you're probably wondering more specifically which fields can be broken into with a degree in English. Folks, rest assured the list is lengthy. You'll find English majors working as copywriters, policy fellows, public relations coordinators, writers (of books, articles, etc.), editors and the aforementioned educators, lawyers, and doctors — as long as you're willing to complete the requisite coursework for each as well. On top of that, keep in mind that you can always complement an English degree with a minor (or even a second major if you're feeling ambitious!) in a second specific field that interests you.
Above all, remember that your education is what you make it, and this is just a very small snippet of the possibilities and benefits that a degree in English can offer you. For more advice in choosing a major or any part of the college admissions process, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, where you'll find more great content to help guide you in achieving your college dreams.
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