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"The skill I learned as an English major that has served me best - even better than learning how to write, which is just hugely important in itself - is how to read critically. Another word for critical reading is 'analysis,' which is both an essential skill and highly valued asset in journalism these days."
“I think in each of my jobs, my English major is just an important signal that I am a very good writer, and that I've studied how to be a good writer. And I've learned that a lot of employers need good writers. You would be shocked how many people just don't know how to write well on a very basic level. Knowing how to communicate and articulate your thoughts is a hugely valuable skill.”
“Learning how to think critically and write persuasively will help you in any career. Put in the time and effort as an undergrad to think about what you want to do after school; graduation it will be there before you know it. Use your summers wisely to make connections and gain field-specific skills.”
“It is easy to be a reader and become an English major, but the courses that pushed me to articulate myself were what made the major so valuable for me. Thanks to those courses I was able to write and publish while still in college, and they taught me how to analyze information – including news – in a way that I still find useful today.”
“I believe that the English curriculum developed my ability to structure a problem logically, proceed through each step in an analysis rigorously, and communicate the results clearly.”
“You can apply your ability to confidently articulate abstract connections in literature to so many trajectories in life, even if twenty years from now no one would guess from your day job that you were an English major.”
“Think creatively about what will help you on your career path. Don’t be afraid to take initiative and propose some - perhaps unusual - interdisciplinary approaches to your studies. Academic structures can be rigid in this area, but advocate for your interests.”
“For anyone interested in pursuing a job in publishing, I would recommend finding a balance in your courses between classics and modern work. I have found it incredibly helpful to have solid knowledge bases across the board, because that history of literature informs my decisions in working with authors. You want to be able to recognize an author’s inspirations and, alternatively, imagine where they can fit in today’s market. I also recommend taking as many theory classes as possible.”
“The close, collaborative nature of the English Department feeds interests and passions and friendships, and I really want future majors to feel that closeness during their time at William & Mary.”
“I think that English majors are more likely to perceive and confront social justice issues. They tend to understand systemic problems because literature so often deals with them.”
"I know for a fact that I am always ready to put down that I have qualitative methodological experience on my résumé because the skills I learned are real and valuable. Everyone should be involved in some form of research if they plan to continue their studies, and it was through conducting my own research that I shaped my career trajectory."
“Everyone is looking for good writers these days. And editors. I was a creative writing concentrator at William and Mary, so I basically spent my three and a half years of schooling writing and editing constantly. These skills are invaluable.”
“My English major helped me develop the skills I needed on the job market. It’s a great choice for people who want to be in jobs that demand critical thinking. Evidence-based reasoning is a hallmark of being a lawyer, as is the ability to communicate those research-backed ideas.”
“I’d encourage students to consider pairing the English major with a career-oriented or vocational ambition. The English major is a really powerful tool when it’s supplemented with a concrete career goal.”
“Pursue individual projects, whether they’re through the honors program or independent study with a professor. That’s really where I learned about my passion for learning and research. Individual research helps you own your education and think more about what drives you as an English major.”
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