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Old 03-21-2008, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Wheeling, WV
394 posts, read 1,273,921 times
Reputation: 109

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Like many college students, I'm preparing to graduate and enter the wonderful,curious,and frustrated real world. I will be graduating with a Bachelor's in English. Prior to going to school, I had strong aspirations of either: a.going to grad school, receiving a ph.d down the road, and teaching literature at the post-high school level or b. going to law school and hoping it would open a larger job market for me (which I've been told is a myth for law grads). I still have a desire to do this, and possibly down the road I will, but I've hit a large speed bump - I'm burned out on school! Do I have a shot at landing a decent job with my degree or are the myths about majoring in English that my guidance counselors in high school warned me about coming true? If it's any help in responding, I'll have roughly a 3.0 gpa upon graduating.
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Chicago
2,467 posts, read 11,053,512 times
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It depends on what you want to do with your BA in English. What kinda job are you looking for? There's actually a musical about this (google Avenue Q).
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:21 AM
 
6,585 posts, read 22,208,845 times
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You would be eligible for any job that just requires a college degree in anything, like going into a restaurant management trainee job, or convenience store mananagement trainee job.

On a side note, when I was in college and in a sorority we always had a meeting at the end of the year where the graduating senior girls imparted their wisdom onto everyone else in the room and one girl stood up and said she made a huge mistake getting a degree in French because the only job she could find was at 7-Eleven in their store management trainee program. She was very unhappy. She said get a degree in something that teaches a skill and leads directly to a job - teaching, nursing, accounting. One sorority sister was getting a degree in English and she stayed another year to get a teaching certificate and has been teaching middle school English for 20+ years now.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:41 AM
 
28,906 posts, read 44,641,572 times
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I earned my degree in English, and am doing quite well thanks. I'm 45 and am looking at retiring about 8 years.

The problem with academia is that they don't have much imagination. If you're going to be a lit teacher then, yes, you'll go the usual path. Basically, there are tons of ways an English major can earn a good living, if you think outside the box.

That was my plan. Then my father dropped dead two months after graduation, so my plans for grad school went out the window. I had planned on paying my way in grad school as well, just as I had while earning my Bachelors, but my father was an improvident money manager, so I had to give up my teaching plans and get a well-paying job immediately to support my mother.

So, guess what. I found a job as a copywriter in an ad agency. Not an agency that works with fender-slapping used car salesman, but one that really produces good work. Advertising is a field that always is looking for really good writers, and really good ones are very well paid.

I'm 45 now, freelance, and earn more than $100K a year in a secondary market. Plus I have time to work on my second novel, take my kids to baseball and violin, etc.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Wheeling, WV
394 posts, read 1,273,921 times
Reputation: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
I earned my degree in English, and am doing quite well thanks. I'm 45 and am looking at retiring about 8 years.

The problem with academia is that they don't have much imagination. If you're going to be a lit teacher then, yes, you'll go the usual path. Basically, there are tons of ways an English major can earn a good living, if you think outside the box.

That was my plan. Then my father dropped dead two months after graduation, so my plans for grad school went out the window. I had planned on paying my way in grad school as well, just as I had while earning my Bachelors, but my father was an improvident money manager, so I had to give up my teaching plans and get a well-paying job immediately to support my mother.

So, guess what. I found a job as a copywriter in an ad agency. Not an agency that works with fender-slapping used car salesman, but one that really produces good work. Advertising is a field that always is looking for really good writers, and really good ones are very well paid.

I'm 45 now, freelance, and earn more than $100K a year in a secondary market. Plus I have time to work on my second novel, take my kids to baseball and violin, etc.
That's great. I need to read things like this every now and then to keep me motivated.
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Old 03-23-2008, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
603 posts, read 2,054,895 times
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When I was in Sigma Tau Delta (National English Honor Society), they had a large list of jobs for English majors. I took the route of teaching English in high school, but according to the list, there are a lot of options. If I find the list, I'll post it.
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Wheeling, WV
394 posts, read 1,273,921 times
Reputation: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by charz View Post
When I was in Sigma Tau Delta (National English Honor Society), they had a large list of jobs for English majors. I took the route of teaching English in high school, but according to the list, there are a lot of options. If I find the list, I'll post it.
That would be terrific. Thank you very much.
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Old 03-23-2008, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Tucson, AZ
2,152 posts, read 7,407,106 times
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I have a friend with a BA in English who writes technical manuals for a large computer company. The tech biz has a real problem and challenge with documenting all the changes that go on with their products, and most engineering people with strong tech skills are not very good writers. Good technical writers earn very good money, it's a field that is widely overlooked. It's not as glamorous as Hollywood screenwriters, but it can be a good job that can open up a lot of opportunities.
On a lighter note, if you ever listen to Garrison Kieler on Praerie Home Companion PBS radio he often does an ad "spoof" for a (fake) organization called "National Association of English Majors". I always get a laugh from those ads, where they come up with all sorts of odd occupations that English Majors might get themselves into.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 10,143,957 times
Reputation: 9131
Default A BA in English is hardly worthless. . .

As with any degree, I honestly think you are only limited by your own imagination.

I majored in English, took other humanities as electives, and ended up with a variety of things I felt qualified to do. Unfortunately, so did many school systems, and when I taught, occasionally I found myself facing a classroom full of kids in Art I, French I, and US History.

Because I had studied French for well over eight years (counting HS courses) and was well-versed in the language and culture, I could also work in France or other French-speaking countries. If you have a second language you can use in some capacity, you can teach English to others. Even my husband, who is a chemist, and has limited English talent, was asked to come into the schools in Japan to converse with the children who wanted an opportunity to work on their English.

Many countries overseas require English of their students.

I'd even go so far as to suggest if you are entertaining graduate studies, perhaps venture into another area of interest that might complement your undergraduate studies. Combine the English degree with one in art, or photography, and write for a periodical. Or pursue studies in Spanish, with the growing Hispanic population, and look for a job that would use those skills too -- many businesses, schools, included, and hospitals, are begging for people who understand Spanish. You could translate books if you were to seek employment with a publishing company (depending upon your command of the second language, of course). With my French years ago, I wanted to work for a transatlantic airline, preferably in a French office.

Think creatively.
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:18 AM
 
28,906 posts, read 44,641,572 times
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One other thing. If you're an English major (or ANY humanities major), and want to avoid the academic/law school route, here are several courses that would be worth your time:

-- 1 or 2 basic business courses. If you're a freelancer and understand business, you'll be amazed at how many doors open for you.

-- Public speaking. Quite possibly the most valuable college course I ever took. With a good teacher, you'll learn how to interact with an audience, how to express yourself clearly, and how to present subject matter. I use it almost every day.

-- Foreign language. Get really proficient in one. Your stock will shoot up immeasurably.
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