English Offers You a World of Opportunity
Certainly, majoring in English prepares a person well for teaching English, pursuing a graduate degree in English, or becoming a professional writer. However, evidence shows that training in English at the college level also provides an invaluable foundation for a future in law, medicine, business, or federal service.
Findings from a survey of 53 law school admissions officers and deans show that English majors make good law students.
- “Articulation and communication are essential ingredients of the lawyer’s professional equipment. At the same time [the study of literature] gives deep insight into human nature.” (Mrs. Camille Cook, Assistant to the Dean, University of Alabama School of Law)
- “The ability to use the English language effectively is the most important ability an applicant can bring to the study of law, and the lack of this ability is the most frequent cause of failure for law students.” (Dean James C. Quarles, Walter R. George School of Law, Mercer University)
- “The chief complaint of most legal educators is that most law students are so poorly equipped in our language.” (Professor Orley R. Lilly, Jr., Chairman, Admissions Committee, University of Tulsa College of Law)
Likewise, medical school officials mention the importance of good communication skills as well as the understanding of the human condition afforded by studying literature.
- “Good preparation in English is mandatory; excellent preparation invaluable.” (Dean Horace N. Marvin, University of Arkansas School of Medicine)
- “Given a basic interest in aptitude for science, personally I would prefer a non-science major. The ‘literacy’ rate seems to be decreasing – God help us! So the more English majors you give us, the better.” (Dean Robert L. Tuttle, Bowman Gray School of Medicine)
- “…a thorough knowledge of the English language and its literature is a valuable asset for a medical student. I teach a course in Medicine in Shakespeare for the students here, partly for this reason.” (Dean Frank N. Miller, George Washington University School of Medicine)
The Key to Your Future
The English major can become even more desirable to business recruiters by taking some well-chosen elective courses in such areas as management, economics, human relations, general psychology, and accounting.
Government agencies recommend courses outside of the humanities in management, economics, computer science, and finance to supplement the solid foundations provided by a liberal arts major.
Most frequently-mentioned “entry level” positions listed by personnel managers in business as good possibilities for English majors:
Most frequently-mentioned “entry level” positions listed by personnel managers in federal service as good possibilities for English majors:
- Administrative Assistant
- Bank Examiner Trainee (Federal Reserve System)
- Budget Analyst (or Budget Examiner)
- Building Management Officer
- Claims Examiner
- Educational Specialist
- Management Intern
- Personnel Management Specialist
- Public Information Specialist
- Writer and Editor
Both the business community and federal departments value the following abilities of college-trained English majors:
- To speak well in public.
- To handle office paperwork with grammatical accuracy, conciseness, and clarity.
- To edit or rewrite material that has been prepared by technical personnel.
- To analyze, interpret, reorganize, and re-phrase material.
- To use general and specialized reference materials in preparing well-documented reports.
- To analyze and interpret unpublished data of various kinds in preparing well-documented reports.
- To use research materials with creativity and originality.
- To speak and write a foreign language fluently.
- To become reasonably knowledgeable in areas in which there has been no previous training.
- To present an argument or to debate logically, succinctly, and clearly.
Material reprinted by permission of the Modern Language Association of America from “English: The Pre-Professional Major” by Linwood E. Orange, Copyright 1972, 1973.
For more information, contact Dr. Jerry Holt, Interim Department Chair, Department of English & Modern Languages, Purdue North Central, (219) 785-5346, email@example.com.