Should Writers Get an English Degree?

It Depends. What is Your Goal?

Photo by Jakob Rosen on Unsplash

When I started community college, I had the intention of getting an English degree. I wanted to write, and I knew if way before I enrolled in my first class. I loved to read; I borrowed books from the library, bought a few at used bookstores or in the discounted section of the Waldenbooks (back then). I was poor, so it was all I could afford, but I’d rather buy a book than a burger for lunch. I devoured my books instead.

Anyhow, when I had my first meeting with my counselor, she discouraged me from getting an English degree. She told me that it wouldn’t be valuable in the real world and that if I wanted to write, I should just write.

As I mentioned, I was poor, so when she told me that if I became a writer I’d continue to be poor and that my degree would be useless, I decided not to major in English.

Did I make the right decision? Honestly, no, I should have gotten my B.A. in English. It’s what I really wanted and my whole life I gravitated back to writing, so an English degree would have been nice to have.

However, that doesn’t mean that I believe I needed a degree in English to become a writer. Obviously, I didn’t because here I am, a working writer with fair amount of success.

The best education…