English Literature » Blog Archive » Career Options for English Majors

English Literature » Blog Archive » Career Options for English Majors.

I appreciate that the above article strives to help potential English majors feel less anxious about the choice of a humanities discipline. The author does a largely successful job of communicating the transferable skills one acquires as an English major and how those skills relate to more than simply teaching the subject for a living. The problem arises when we look at how the author handles the “how much money will I make” question.

To academic advisors, the flaws in the logic that presumes any degree will lead specifically to one and only one well-paying or poorly-paying job are as evident as is the impetus for students to use this logic in their choice of college major in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, each student is allowed to put value on whatever impetus they wish when starting their education. And why wouldn’t you want the way you spend your years in higher education to positively effect what you do for a living  and how much you get paid for doing so? So, it’s not that I fault the author of the above article for putting a dollar figure on what the “typical” English major makes for a living–I simply wouldn’t have put it at the end of the first paragraph. And I certainly would have spent way more time talking about the difficulty in using an average annual salary of all English majors without pointing to the number of variables, well within the student’s control, that can boost that “average” figure.


About Art

I've been a higher education professional for over 15 years and an Academic Advising administrator for the past eight of those. I have a background in exploratory student advising and have spent a great deal of time guiding students through contemplating their personal college-to-career pathways. I've published, presented, and consulted on the intersection of social media and academia and am a firm believer in social media's power as a tool for engagement rather than solely information delivery. I've worked at public and private institutions as well as 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. I believe in Academic Advising as a teaching and learning activity, that learner-centered education is the key to students' academic success, and that as long as we keep students' individual goals and success at the center of our decision-making process, the problem of college-level student attrition can be solved.
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