What is an English Major? Is it worth pursuing an English Major? What are the pros and cons of getting an English major? Choosing a major in university is serious business, since it will be the subject you will be studying for the next 4 years or so of your life.
English majors have a weird reputation in the academic world, with many people having fears about how broad the curriculum is. While it might not have the same practical appeal as a business major for example, English major develop a skillset that is extremely useful in the professional world as well as on a personal level.
If you are trying to figure out if an English major is the right thing for you, keep reading to find out more about the degree, the skills that you will develop, possible career paths and a list of pros and cons of pursuing an English degree.
Do you know how you can prepare to study an English major?
What Is An English Major?
An English major is a humanities degree that allows students to explore different styles of expression. A student who has an undergraduate background in English can dive into fields like journalism, law and business. Majors will likely start their studies in classes designed to train them as readers and writers. On the other hand, higher-level courses can touch upon topics like creative writing, critical theory and literary history.
English majors develop competencies that are sought out in publishing, journalism, advertising, education, law, marketing, and public relations.
Some of the skills that English majors have are:
- Writing compelling research papers, reports, analyses, and pieces of creative writing. They also develop strong writing skills that they can apply in a number of professional settings. From persuasive and professional writing to technical and creative writing, they are masters at effective written communication strategies and know how to express their ideas with clarity.
- They are great at using devices like analogies, parallelisms, and alliterations to attract and hold their readers’ attention. They know how to tell a compelling story, make a valid point, persuade the audience, or get an emotional response from them.
- English majors are very effective verbal communicators. They can analyse things thoroughly and read between the lines, as well as be very sensitive to their audience’s reactions, and articulate their point clearly.
- They are great at applying creative thinking to their communication and problem-solving skills. They develop unique ideas, find new approaches and implement original strategies.
Do you want to get an English degree?
Should You Pursue An English Major?
Is it worth pursuing an English major or English degree? This is quite a complex question that cannot be answered in a general way. Yes, it is worth pursuing if you are passionate about it and love literature, written expressions and media.
If you are on the fence about pursuing an English degree because of the job uncertainty, we can attest to the fact that many English majors both in Canada and across the world have amazing and fulfilling careers.
Some English majors become teachers or professors at prestigious universities. Others have successful careers in a wide variety of fields, as doctors, lawyers, civil servants, librarians, clergy, entrepreneurs, foreign aid workers, community organizers, musicians, translators, artists...
Another possible career for English majors is writing or journalism. You can work for national newspapers and television or film companies. Others work as copy editors, TV and advertising writers, and magazine editors.
As you can see, it is not a matter of options or career availability but more about figuring out whether English studies and literature is your passion and you feel truly connected to the courses.
That said, we do have a follow up list of advantages and disadvantages of having an English major to help you get more clarity on the situation.
Pros and Cons of Having An English Major
If you are considering pursuing an English major at university, here are the most important aspects you should take into consideration before making your final decision:
Pros of having an English major
- You will increase your love for reading. Novels, short stories, articles, graphic novels... You will be exposed to different writing styles and voices and will fall in love with the different authors, narratives and characters.
- It can help you develop strong analytical skills.
- It can help you learn the principles of literary criticism.
- It can help you develop strong, refined communication skills.
- Courses in your curriculum will likely cover communications, journalism, and other very specialized topics.
- English majors write many papers, stories and creative pieces. So, if you enjoy writing, this degree will definitely make you feel at home.
- English majors have very strong opinions about literature and therefore life.
Cons of having an English major
- English majors read ALL THE TIME. No matter how much you love reading, it it true that the amount of reading English majors have to do can get a bit overwhelming so get ready to face this.
- Research papers on very dense works are the norm.
- It will potentially be necessary to read and study genres of literature that you don’t enjoy.
- A lack of opportunity to develop some of the “hard skills” that go along with other majors could be present.
- Lack of focus: while it is true that English majors touch upon many different subjects, a degree in English does not prepare you for any career path, unless you get a more specific degree such as English Education or Creative Writing.
Still, no matter how many cons you might find, if English is your passion, you'll make it work! An English major can lead to a great career path and many opportunities along the way.
It is important to understand all the requirements before enrolling in your English major and to make sure you are performing to the best of your abilities. With that in mind, sometimes the things you learn at school or in the regular academic setting are not enough to get you where you want to be, especially when it comes to pursuing admission to an English degree in a top university or even just making sure you are at the top of the class.
What to do then? Well, we've got just the thing to help you prepare for your English major outside of school.
Find out more about the jobs for English majors.
Prepare For Your English Major Outside of School
While school curricula is designed for students to get the best possible preparation both to get admitted to a high level profile in a university and to be successful once they are there, it is true that having support on the outside of the academic system is a great way for students to reach their goals.
Private tutoring is designed for such a situation. But, what is private tutoring?
Private tutors provide one-on-one educational assistance to students no matter their age. They can help you with anything: improve your skills in reading, writing or math, provide help with English, history, science, math, French or other subjects. Tutors for adults may teach literacy, English or other languages...
In the case of English they can provide support with readings, essay writing, understanding the narrative of a homework or project, and making sure you polish your communication skills, among other things.
Where can I find a private tutor to help me with my English courses?
That's an excellent question. Private tutors are generally self-employed and jump from tutoring one student to another. This is because an effective tutor will be able to prepare a student to the point where they no longer need tutoring. That said these are some of the places where you can find a private tutor:
- Some schools have access to private tutors who have all the preparation needed to help students with their different subjects. Ask the admin at your school if they have a tutoring program and the costs.
- Community settings and churches sometimes have tutoring programs.
- Boards and online ads where tutors advertise themselves.
- Superprof: the platform that connects students and tutors from all around the world to help them achieve their personal and academic goals.
Our platform is as user friendly as it gets. With only a few clicks you can find hundreds of amazing private tutors who are ready to share their skills with you and help you reach your goals. All of these tutors have very different profiles and backgrounds. Some of them might be authors and journalists, others are dedicated to academia, others might have experience with pedagogy...
This is why it's so important for you to look at the profiles thoroughly and make sure you ask yourself: what do I want to achieve? Do I want to ace a test? Get admitted to a certain university for my English degree? With this clarity you can go to Superprof and find your dream tutor!
Find out more about the courses you should take to pursue an English degree.
The platform that connects tutors and students