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Future/Current English Majors: What do you plan to do with your degree?

Tenacious JTenacious J Posts: 725Registered User Member
edited November 2004 in College Search & Selection
I will be a freshman next fall and am strongly considering majoring in English (rather than Business as I had become accustomed to). I would just like to get some ideas as to what one can do with an English degree. Right now I am considering sketch comedy writing or writing for some kind of television show or publication( I most likely will minor in Journalism if it works out). What are your plans?
Post edited by Tenacious J on
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Replies to: Future/Current English Majors: What do you plan to do with your degree?

  • SBmomSBmom Posts: 5,725Registered User Senior Member
    I was an english major, who later went into t.v. production, then made a career in screenwriting for films. I think Eng is a great major for almost anything, because if you know how to write you know how to think. In today's world you need to be able to move from field to field as technologies change, etc-- almost every field favors someone who is an effective communicator and can present ideas with clarity. Plus it is a fun thing to study!
  • mikemacmikemac Posts: 7,352Registered User Senior Member
    see my post in the "What jobs are there for psych majors?" thread. English and psych are liberal-arts majors, the principles of finding a job are the same. Go to a good school and do well, identify areas you might want to work in and get internship experience.
  • Tenacious JTenacious J Posts: 725Registered User Member
    Thanks very much guys! Just curious, SBmom, what kind of films?
  • SBmomSBmom Posts: 5,725Registered User Senior Member
    Feature films. Woked for Disney, Universal, etc. Sold a bunch, though most never get made... I ultimately retired to raise kids but I really enjoyed writing. You have to be fairly comfortable with your own company and have a good work ethic or you'll go nuts and not get enough done...
  • patientlywaitingpatientlywaiting Posts: 233Registered User Junior Member
    i used to work in a company where the director of sales was an english major. usually a degree opens various directions, it's not unusual for english majors to go into sales because they have a strong communication background.
  • patientlywaitingpatientlywaiting Posts: 233Registered User Junior Member
    ... but then again i once met a waitrass that was an english major and she said she was still looking for a job. i guess it depends on how driven you are, your connections, work experience, etc...
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Posts: 15,373Registered User Senior Member
    My friend works at barnes and nobles. I'm not sure exactly what he does.
  • IslandmomIslandmom Posts: 284Registered User Junior Member
    My sister manages Half Price Books with her English degree. But she's moved up a little to a position in training other employees or something like that.
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Posts: 15,373Registered User Senior Member
    my friend worked as a vacum salesman for quite a while though, so it's not the easiest thing to find work in. But then again, he did take a month off to tour Europe, so that probably had an effect
  • uschickauschicka Posts: 562Registered User Member
    I'm currently an English major, and hope to enter into a novel-editing, or publishing job.
  • jaxjax Posts: 48Registered User Junior Member
    I have a BA in English and worked directing group home programs for delinquent kids, also worked in assessment in an adolescent psych hospital and with the courts with delinquent and abused/neglected kids.
  • DudeDiligenceDudeDiligence Posts: 281Registered User Junior Member
    I'm a former English major and I'm having some difficulty with the implication that English is somehow "lesser" of an undergraduate major than many other areas. Nothing could be further from the truth. An undergraduate emphasis on English and literature supplies a student with a set of analytical and communicative skills that will benefit the student forever. These skills have value in EVERY possible future work and personal situation What's more, the nature of studying English at the college level -- generally small classes, sometimes very small, sometimes personal tutorials; always discussion -- places a student in the context where they must learn to listen, learn, and communicate with and to others in a group dynamic. Again, these skills have value in EVERY possible future work and personal situation.

    For most of us, college is not about vocational training, it's about education in the broadest possible sense; education beyond the kind of education that is possible at even the finest high school. Do English majors ever go into professions that are directly related to the undergraduate study of English? Of course. I know many former English majors who are English professors, high school or grade school English teachers, writers, journalists, advertising copywriters, and some involved in virtually all areas of the publishing business. For those interested in those areas, an English major is a good start towards some pretty rewarding careers.

    However, most English majors probably go into unrelated, or minimally related, fields. I know former English majors who are successful attorneys, judges, doctors, psychologists, social workers, politicians, salesmen, and at least two who are VERY successful businessmen. Did their undergraduate emphasis in English and literature help them in their future careers? I believe most think yes.

    I enjoyed college immensely and, for me, could not have imagined going through college as anything other than as an English major. Except for a few narrowly defined preprofessional areas -- accredited engineering degrees being an obvious example -- what you study in college has little direct relationship on your future profession and your success in that profession. Assuming certain prerequisites and foundational knowledge, you can study anything and go to medical school. The same holds true for law and business schools.

    Not to sound like a Hallmark greeting card (and Hallmark undoubtedly was -- at least before the advent of popular market desktop publishing products -- a large employer of English undergraduates), but do what you love to do and become one of the very best in doing it. That's the best route to personal and professional success. Your career will develop naturally from that. To me, that makes so much more sense and produces so much less anxiety than trying to rigidly pre-plan EVERY step of your future.

    Anyway, the above are just my opinions, but, they are opinions that I've lived with and through. Good luck.
  • Tenacious JTenacious J Posts: 725Registered User Member
    I really appreciate everybody taking the time to share their personal experiences with us. The wide range of careers made possible by an English degree is truly amazing. And diligencedude, I'm sorry to have to admit this, but that was exactly what I wanted to hear! I am confident that writing and studying literature is my passion, and I hope I will have the same success that yourself and your counterparts have enjoyed. Thank you to all.
  • bookiemombookiemom Posts: 1,879Registered User Senior Member
    Tenacious J: I have my B.A. in English, and like you and some of the other posters, never wanted to major in anything else. I went to graduate school in library science, and have worked as a librarian, editor, reviewer, and writer. One bit of advice I would give you is to go ahead with that minor in journalism, or even a double major if that is possible. I am sorry now that I did not do that. I loved my English classes and my minor in philosophy, but I should have taken some journalism classes as well. Another thing I didn't do that I should have is to get my teaching certificate. You might think about that also. It wouldn't have been that hard while I was in college, but it would be hard to do now. I think either the double major in journalism or adding the teaching certificate would be worth staying in college for an extra year because of the additional career options that would provide.
  • Tenacious JTenacious J Posts: 725Registered User Member
    I will defenitely take that into consideration. Part of the reason I mentioned Journalism was because I really enjoy working on my high school's paper and, AT THE VERY LEAST, I would like to work on the staff of my prospective college's newspaper.
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