5 Alternatives to an English Degree

Do you love writing and reading but you’re unsure if you want to be an English major? In this article, you will learn about 5 alternatives to an English degree that could help your chances to get into college.

By JOSH DO

Here, at The Admission Angle, we stress the importance of choosing a major during high school so you can bolster your college application. If you love writing, reading, or doing textual research; you may be thinking about being an English major in college. We love English majors, but you may want to think about focusing on a more specific English-type major because specific majors can have more generous acceptance rates due to a small applicant pool. Here are 5 alternatives to an English degree that still combine writing, reading, and other interests.

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1. English - Creative Writing Concentration

If you love writing fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction; then an English major with a Creative Writing Concentration might be your best bet. With this type of English major, you will take more classes than focus on the craft, and style, of creative writing. These creative writing courses will allow you to develop your writing voice, read a diverse collection of contemporary writers, and prepare you for the next level of your writing career. 

Yale’s Writing Concentration allows students to take classes with “distinguished professional writers who have direct contact with students, in small classes and one-on-one conferences.” The smallness of these programs allows for your work to get more focused attention from professors. You will, hopefully, create substantial deliverables that you can submit to writing contests, book presses, and towards your application to MFAs or Creative Writing PhDs.

2. Communications

You can write an amazing research paper that will make your professor proud, but could you translate your 25-page paper into something digestible for a broad audience? In today’s consumer culture, it is important for companies and brands, across all sectors, to break down their goals, objectives, and ideals into simple messaging. 

A degree in communications combines the analytical skills of an English degree and makes it more multimodal. This means you are granted the opportunity to take an idea or argument and package it into one, or various mediums, that will help get the message across easier. 

The Bachelor of Science in Communications, at Washington University in St. Louis, focuses on theories and applications of communications: organizational, interpersonal, cultural, political, and digital. 

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3. Journalism

The Journalism School at Columbia states on its website that, “writing well is a foundational skill of any journalist.” A journalism major is a great degree for a student who loves research, is informed about local and national news, and has great interpersonal skills.

There is also the anthropological aspect of being a journalism major; you get to learn how to ethically report on, interact with, and interview other people in the world. So if you want to employ your writing skills to help people stay informed about their environment; then you should consider majoring in journalism.

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4. English - Pre Law

There is a high correlation between students who go to law school with students who also majored in English. This makes total sense when you think about the skills you acquire from being in English classes and the skills you need to be a good lawyer. 

In English classes: you gain practice in analyzing complicated texts, researching to find the context surrounding a text, and you learn to make arguments using writing and rhetoric.

When applying to law school, you have to take the LSAT. The LSAT consists of five sections: analytic reasoning, reading comprehension, logical reasoning, an experimental section, and a writing section. These five sections test you over skills that you can gain as an English – Pre Law student. 

The Harvard Law School partners with the NYU School of Law to offer a summer program called TRIALS. The program invites students to Harvard or NYU to help prepare for the LSAT, attend lectures by prominent leaders in law, and gain practical shadowing experience with working lawyers. 

5. Writing & Rhetoric

Being good at writing & rhetoric means that you are good at the technical aspects of writing: essay structure, grammar, argument, analysis, and syntax. If you are good at writing papers for class, or good at finding grammatical errors, focusing on writing & rhetoric is a good focus within the English degree. 

Having a strong foundation in Writing & Rhetoric will open up opportunities for you after college. Every job or career will need to employ superb writing & rhetoric to be successful. Most companies in the sciences or technology will need technical writers to write their manuals or instructions. Beyond the alternatives already listed on this list, having a degree, or a concentration in Writing & Rhetoric, is helpful if you go into business, editing & publishing, copyediting, technical writing, teaching, or any type of marketing. Syracuse offers a great Writing & Rhetoric program if this is what you are interested in.

Takeaways

This article was only a small sample of alternatives to an English degree. There are many other specific degrees and concentrations that you can focus on that will incorporate the main skills acquired as an English major. If you need more help figuring out the best alternative for you, try setting up a consultation with us!

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