Tips on Being a Successful English Major

Majoring in English is a transformative experience for several reasons. For one, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the lives and works of some of the most interesting, unique, and intelligent men and women that ever lived. In your English career at Cypress, you will read Beowulf, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, T.S. Eliot, Le Guin, Bishop, Keats, Blake, Pope, and so, so much more. You will learn how to compose coherent, critical essays; and, if you take English 105, practice in composing poetry and short stories. In addition, Recent studies, both from the University of Toronto and the New School for Social Research in New York, suggest that reading literary fiction can help one better empathize with others, and think more critically.

That said, succeeding as an English major and transferring can be difficult. Unlike most other majors, there are few concepts or definitions to memorize. Rather, your success will rest on independent, close readings of assigned texts and on putting aside significant for writing and revising essays.

If you enjoy reading and writing, majoring in English is an excellent decision; English major graduates go on to succeed in academia, media, government, law, and business.

Here is a list of tips for any English Major seeking to transfer to University.

Tips on Being a Successful English Major

  1. Read the assigned texts.
  2. No, really. Read the assigned texts.
  3. LISTEN, READ THE ASSIGNED TEXTS! YOU’RE AN ENGLISH MAJOR FOR CHRISSAKES!
  4. Speak up in class. Unlike in a Biology or Calculus class, your thoughts on literature are important and welcome in the classroom. Just be sure you can defend/explain your reasoning.
  5. Visit your English professors during their office hours. They’ve devoted their lives to the written word; getting their perspective on life after the English B.A. is important. Plus, they’re an interesting, eloquent group of folk. You’ll learn something every time you visit their office.
  6. Get involved! There’s the Creative Guild, Sole Image Magazine, Divergence, Lively Arts Club, and more. Plenty of places at Cypress College for you to get in tap with your creative side.
  7. Start thinking about Graduate School. Here is a a good website to help you get started: http://www2.washjeff.edu/users/ltroost/GradSchool.html
  8. Independent Study. Setting aside time to read for pleasure (whether it’s the Odyssey or Fifty Shades of Grey), will help keep you from burning out and possibly give you an interesting topic for a paper.
  9. Finally, read the assigned texts!

“Open a book,” said Cypress College English professor Stuart Rosenberg. “It’s good for you.”

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