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On an English degree: “Profoundly useful and practical”

seniors at rehearsal
A few 2013 Taylor English grads at rehearsal

Surely you’ve seen the stares and fielded the questions: “English? You’re going to be a teacher?”

If the answer is no, you might hear: “So…what are you going to do with that?”

“A lot,” answers Dr. Rob Prescott of Bradley University in Illinois. In his recent book Why to Major in English if You’re Not Going to Teach (Kendall Hunt, 2010), Prescott addresses these questions and many more.  The back cover copy outlines Prescott’s practical focus; in the book, he:

  • Helps English majors confidently approach employers and present themselves both in terms of their classroom education and in terms of the many ways that they used their English-major skills outside of the classroom.
  • Examines in detail what English majors actually do for a living, what their skills are, and why those skills are important in the world of work.
  • Looks at what faculty do in the English classroom to help students develop the English skills set.
  • Closes with a series of chapters for prospective and current English majors to help them think about how they will apply for a job and move toward a long-term career path.

While most of us are in the field because we love literature and writing, the realities of the working world beckon.  It can be a struggle to find jobs, outside of teaching, where we can leverage our skills and deep passions to earn a living. But those jobs–and the satisfaction that comes with them–are out there, and English grads are beginning to find them.

“The fact is that we impart an executive skill set that’s profoundly useful and practical,” said Prescott in a recent interview with the Peoria Journal Star, referring to what an English major is capable of bringing to the business world. Toward the end of his book, he lists two-hundred successful people working in diverse fields who all hold undergraduate degrees in English—Fortune 500 CEO’s, Nobel laureates in medicine, five Supreme Court Justices, Hollywood actors, and some of America’s most famous journalists.

more students

So you’re going to teach? Excellent! Want to do something else? That’s great, too. Just scroll through the Taylor English alumni success stories here at the blog. There are great opportunities in unexpected places, and you’ll be well prepared for the one that’s right for you.

To read the complete interview with Rob Prescott, click here.

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