English Major: Working as student journalist “helped me get the job” of technical writer

I just got this email from a student who graduated in May. I’m the adviser to The Setonian, the student newspaper. I think it’s safe to say that working with the Setonian helped me get the job. Several of the tests I took with the company involved me compiling given information into paragraph format, which was pretty similar to writing news articles! The teamwork and leadership experience with the Setonian was…

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 2.26.14 PM

Wanted in College Graduates: Tolerance for Ambiguity

“What answer do you want?” “Just tell me what you want me to write, and I’ll write it for you!” I once had a student in a literature class who almost had a panic attack when she found out, from the mock final exam, that the final exam would contain poems and prose passages that we hadn’t gone over in class, so that there was no way for her to…

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 2.44.19 PM

In an Unpredictable Job Market, How Should People Think About College Majors?

I tell my students that if what they want is specific job skills, they should learn how to lay cable or get a Class-2 rating to drive a P-5000 Power Loader. But the specific job skills I teach a freshman or sophomore may be out of date by graduation day. Rather than teaching students how to use a particular piece of software, I want to teach self-sufficiency and critical thinking; I want to…

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 2.57.26 PM

College is not a commodity. Stop treating it like one.

If we are going to treat college as a commodity, and an expensive one at that, we should at least grasp the essence of its economic nature. Unlike a car, college requires the “buyer” to do most of the work to obtain its value. The value of a degree depends more on the student’s input than on the college’s curriculum. I know this because I have seen excellent students get…

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 8.36.00 AM

Technology won’t fix America’s neediest schools. It makes bad education worse.

[N]o matter how good the design, and despite rigorous tests of impact, I have never seen technology systematically overcome the socio-economic divides that exist in education. Children who are behind need high-quality adult guidance more than anything else. Many people believe that technology “levels the playing field” of learning, but what I’ve discovered is that it does no such thing. —The Washington Post


100 Careers for English Majors

Anyone with an English degree will tell you that picking this major can lead to a lot skeptical questions: “What are you going to do after school?” or “What kind of a job can you really get with an English degree?” But the awesome part about this major is its flexibility—you’re not confined to a specific vocational track. Instead, the skills you learn can be applied to a ton of…