Post # 1
Hello all, I will try to make this short. I graduated with a degree in history, minor in spanish a few years ago and I thought I could do anything with it. I fell for the whole, “You can do anything with that degree bit”. Anyways, now that I know better, I am considering going back to school to get another degree that I can actually use. As of right now, I teach and I am just sick of it, so I am looking into things that I like. I am interested in writing and communication and I have found two degrees that fit this.
The first degree is in English. It is mostly online and the head professor said she would help me take the classes so I could graduate. The classes are really cheap but this school has a hard time telling me what I need since I am a post bac student and they are not used to this(they told me i needed a history minor when I have a history degree already) because of that I don’t have a lot of faith in them. I only need 9 classes to graduate, my question is, “Do you have to retake the general education classes if you go to another college in the same state?” The pros are that I can take the classes like a “normal semester” and its something that I like.
The second degree is in communications with an emphasis on PR. Here is the issue. I like the degree and I feel that what I would be learning is something that I could use, but 1) I need 13 classes instead of 9 and 2) the classes are not in a semester but are 8 weeks a piece and they are on a “track” or “rotation” basis, which means if I miss one, I have to wait an entire year for it to come back around. On top of that, I have to take 4 classes in one semester, 2 for 8 weeks and then another 2 and I honestly don’t know if I could handle that with my job vs. the semester route and I am worried that if I don’t have the money that I will lose my chance to take that class and have to wait a year. My question is what do you guys think I should do? I appreciate the advice.
Post # 3
If you want to get another degree I wouldn’t recommend English. An English degree will not open that many more doors for you than your History degree unless you pursue graduate work or become a professor.
Overall, unless you have a very very specific goal in mind in this economic climate another degree won’t make you or break you. If any degree at all, if I were you I would pursue a graduate degree. Many master’s programs just have a few required courses. If you don’t have them, go back and take those alone, and then just send the transcripts along. You can also get professional certificates at the graduate level. Just google away and you’ll find things. Make sure if you go back to school you get something that is practical, useful, and will be more than just theory. Make sure getting this degree will help you contribute in a workforce in ways you couldn’t otherwise.
If there is a skill you really want, then you can also take specific classes that will teach you that skill by registering as a “non degree seeking” student. You take the classes, and list your abilities in your resume. Then volunteer/intern to get experience using the skills.
I have a B.A. in Theology and a B.S. in International Business. I did them in 3 years (which included a semester abroad) and I used that 4th year of no school for personal growth and to spend time with family. Do not let people behind desks tell you what you can or can’t do. Take initiative and be your own guidance counselor. If I had listened to some of the “advice” I got without doing my own research I would STILL be in school with other people I know. Literally.
You usually don’t have to take gen eds unless some are pre-reqs for a specific class in your major. Even then, you can have those “waived” by talking to the head of your department and personally emailing the professor of the class that requires a specific class. Message the professor explaining your situation, if you get a no go to the dean of the department. Make sure your emails are very eloquent. I had many waived or had other classes I had taken “substitute” a requirement.
If you want to do PR or communications the best way to go about it is by gaining experience. Go intern, volunteer, freelance for a local newspaper, etc. Contact all the people in town that have your dream job and offer your time and smarts. Don’t give up and you’ll make it with or without another degree.
Post # 4
@LuluInLove: Great advice. I’d also add that your undergrad major doesn’t guarantee you a job in that field so I wouldn’t advise getting another undergrad degree.
Post # 5
I really wouldn’t study English as a degree. It is quite generic, I would study something more specific. I wouldn’t want the financial pressure of another degree at the moment. I would find another route to enrich your life, that’s less costly both finacially and personally.
Post # 6
Well, my goal is to have a degree that will allow me to work in the fields of advertising, marketing, pr, and grant/tech writing and a English degree would be a perfect fit. I tried to do the whole grad school thing, but the classes are way too expensive and i dont have 1500 per class per semester. I really only need 7 more classes and I will have an MPA, and I planned on using that for government and non profit work, but I am pretty sure I can do the same with my history degree if I wanted.
While I know that the other degree will not immensely open up options, it will give me more options than I have now. I looked up people with a degree in history on Linkedin and most didn’t even have a job or anything. It was kinda depressing.
I have also thought about a masters in education, the problem with that is what if I wanted to leave the education field, then I would be “stuck”
Post # 7
If you want to get another degree because you think you can’t do anything with a History degree, English is NOT the way to go. If you want a bad pun, I’d say “History would be repeating itself”
Puns are bad.
English degrees are bad.
Don’t be that person with two useless degrees. (My art degree is useless too, so I feel your pain.)
Post # 8
PS- if you want to do marketing and PR, get a marketing degree. Business will be a lot better for you than English.
English majors don’t usually get jobs related to their degree.
Post # 9
You can apply for jobs in writing with the degree you already have. Unless you have a degree in engineering/nursing/computer programming or other professional-oriented degrees, a bachelor’s degree is a bachelor’s degree is a bachelor’s degree. . . . . And lots of companies like to hire a diverse bunch of employees.
When it comes to getting a job, what matters far more than your undergraduate major is your work experience and the connections you make (and to a lesser degree, how well you did in school: high GPA, awards, etc.). Start applying/volunteering/networking to get your foot in the door in the field you want to work in.
Post # 10
- Wedding: June 2017 - Vegas Wedings
Im going to repeat what others have said because it needs to be repeated. A degree in English is as useless as a degree in History. That degree will not open up doors into “advertising, marketing, pr, and grant/tech writing.” Experience will. Apply to jobs in the fields you want and be willing to move, network your butt off, and stay out of debt so you can make career decision based on what you want to do rather what you have to earn.
How do I know you can do what you want with your degree? I have a BA in International Relations and am working in the pre-clinical research sector. It can be done if you advertise you abilities correctly and are willing to start at the bottom.
Post # 11
I agree with the other posters that getting another undergrad degree isn’t as helpful as getting a graduate degree or certificate–you mentioned an MPA: that’s a much more useful degree. it’s one thing to take a few extra undergrad courses to boost your experience to then help you get in to grad school, but I doubt an additional BA would be boon (unless it’s for a medical field–I know people who have ba’s and bsc). if you want to do PR work, an MPA wouldn’t help, but I doubt a 2nd BA would either. an MBA or marketing degree would be more useful for that, but maybe not necessary. it would be helpful to approach people working in the industry that you want to be in for informational interviews. from what I’ve seen of those jobs, networking is often more important than academic credentials.
fwiw, my BA was in history, and it definitely was not useless. history gives you a lot of really important skills in critical analysis, writing, and research, that are applicable across a broad range of fields.
Post # 12
I got a Biology degree and then decided I didn’t want to teach too. I went back and got a degree in computer science. I didn’t have to re-take general studies classes for a second bachelor’s and have found my second degree to be very much worth the time and money. That being said I don’t think either of the degrees you are looking at would be. English is going to be a lot like history. You can teach or you can go to law school. You might could write or edit at a newspaper (but if that’s what you want to do then look into journalism). Communications with a specialization in PR isn’t a great job market right now. My brother got his degree in PR and was unemployed for three years after graduation. Now he’s a bank teller, a job which only requires a HS diploma. I’d think hard about what you want to do “when you grow up” but I’d also think about what there is a market for right now.
ETA: I forgot to mention that “marketing” and “public relations” are two totally different things. This is one of those issues that my brother had. He applied for many marketing jobs, but was turned down because he wasn’t qualified. There is a reason that PR is a communications degree and marketing is a business degree. The way Fiance (who has a marketing degree) describes it: Marketing is what is done to make you buy a product. PR is what is done to smooth over the shortcomings of that product.
Post # 13
@finnaroo:Yeah I was going to say, my BA is in history and I learned all of the skills in critical thinking and writing that are important in any career. I do not work in this exact field, but it is extremely writing heavy and I at least if not more prepared for professional writing as my colleagues who have English degrees.
OP, do not go get a degree in English, particularly in an online program as it will have the same limitations and will not improve your resume at all.
You should apply for jobs in the field you are interested in, and try to promote in your resume how much teaching has allowed you to learn about public speaking, and selling information to an audience.
A second B.A. will not help you at all, go get a graduate degree in your field (even though it is expensive) or just try to get a job in the field.
Post # 14
In my opinion, I think you don’t need to go back to school to follow that career path, and I think spending the time getting the work experience is going to pay off more so than the time you would spend getting the degree. I’m doing something similar as yourself – I have my undergraduate degree in psychology and my MA in International Relations, and I’ve found myself with a job in communications – not exactly the field I went to school for. For my continuing education I’ll be taking online certification courses from mediabistro, one will be copyediting and the other will be PR (link for the website is here). It is a little pricey, but no nearly as bad as the cost of another degree. Another online course is given by the Foundation Center, which has some great resources on how to write grants. Their courses are not that expensive either.
Post # 15
Don’t fall for it again!!
There’s not much at all you can do with an English degree. If you want to write, DO IT! You already know how. If you are going to spend money on school, do it in a program that has practical skills. This might be at a community or technical college, but it will help you get a job. Volunteer, intern or try to get a job at a place where you’d like to see your career path go. A program with a work placement might be helpful too to get some connections.
I’m just finishing my English degree, its fun but I’m not planning to do anything much with it. I hear ya.
Post # 16
@2beeornot2bee: To work in PR/advertising, I would go with a degree in one of those. Or marketing, or communications for something a bit broader.