One question I get all the time is: should I be an English major? As much as I’ve loved the last four years earning my English degree, that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. So, here’s what I always recommend to start the process of deciding if an English major is the right fit:
- Try some classes
One of the first things I always say to people unsure of an English major is to take a few classes to see what you think. You don’t have to commit to the major to try it out. Look up the options for your Gen-Ed requirements and see if any of them are particularly interesting to you. You have to take the classes anyway and the worst-case scenario is you’ve spent some time studying topics that interest you and the best-case scenario is that you’ve confirmed that you’d like to do an English major. An English degree entails a lot more than just reading literature, and taking a few classes can be a great way to understand if you’re in for the work.
- Consider a double major or minor
Sometimes an English major isn’t the only right option. Maybe you need another track for your career path, or there’s another subject you’re passionate about. Whatever your reasons, if you’re still thinking about an English major, perhaps a double major or a minor is the solution. There are a lot of different paths that an English major can be beneficial for, so it can make a great pairing with another major. I know a lot of law students will do an English major as their undergrad degree. An English degree would be a great option before law school because it teaches you how to format and create an argument.
- Think about career options
Personally, I’m a big believer that a degree doesn’t have to be the end all be all for your career. Your college degree doesn’t have to pigeonhole you into an industry; however, if you know what you want to do, it’s worthwhile to consider how an English degree might fit into that path. There are a lot of different career paths that an English major can be useful for, but there are certain career paths that have much more beneficial degree pairings. Some of the obvious careers an English major is particularly useful for are writer, teacher or journalist. Other options could be a social media manager, AD/PR or filmmaker. I’m sure there are plenty more I’m missing too. If you do know what you’d like to go into after college, it’s worth examining the role an English major might play in that plan. Even if an English major isn’t the most ideal choice, you can still always do a double major or minor like I discussed earlier.
I know a lot of people have opinions about what it means to be an English major and with all those voices in your head, it can be difficult to know if this degree is the right choice for you. I’ve been very happy with my decision to major in English and, if this degree turns out to be the choice you make, I hope you are too.