Why High School English Isn’t Just for Future Lit Majors

“Why waste my time on English class when I want to pursue medicine?” “How is learning Steinbeck going to help me in life?” “When will a thesis statement ever rear its head in my professional life after school?”

Teens are naturally inquisitive people, so it’s understandable when they question the relevance and legitimacy of just about everything they’re required to do. Sometimes, the object of their inquisition is spot-on (why can’t they wear all black if they feel like it?). But other times, that bold, inquisitive nature misses the mark. 

High School English isn’t just a random requirement; it’s an essential stepping stone toward the real world. If your high school student is questioning the value of English class, consider talking to them about the points below. 

It’s the Most Common “Key Course” Universities Look for

Let’s tackle that first question: “Why waste my time on English class when I want to pursue medicine?” Well, it might surprise some students to realize that every pre-medicine and scientific program requires English 12. 

And it isn’t just medicine; nearly every program across universities and colleges considers English a “key course” in its evaluations. Not only do post-secondary admissions officers want to see a completed English 12 course, but they want to see high grades that demonstrate proficiency. 

If your teen is gearing up for college or university admissions, consider online grade 12 courses like English. Online courses are self-paced and flexible, allowing even the most stubborn “English-phobes” enough space to blossom and succeed. 

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Written Communication Is Eminently Valuable in the Workforce

“When will a thesis statement ever rear its head in my professional life after school?” All the time. 

Written communication forms the backbone of most jobs – from office careers to field labor. When you aren’t crafting a succinct email to clients, you’re writing an auto mechanic report on diagnostics. When you aren’t cobbling together a quarterly financial report for stakeholders, you’re pitching your next entrepreneurial venture to investors. Writing is everywhere in the professional world. And learning how to write clearly and economically begins with high school English. 

HS English Teaches Essential Emotional and Critical Thinking Skills

“How is learning Steinbeck going to help me in life?” The lessons, themes and emotional resonance contained in literary works are incredibly valuable. Studies show that reading literature helps boost empathy and emotional intelligence, paving the way for us to foster meaningful and equitable relationships later in life. 

Moreover, high school English units spend considerable time honing students’ critical thinking skills. These skills can help you reason through challenging mental and emotional problems, professional dilemmas and interpersonal snags. 

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Media Literacy Has Never Been More Important

In an era of misinformation, the best way to inoculate yourself is through “media literacy.” Grades 11 and 12 English courses spend ample time on media literacy: learning to think critically and analytically about how information is sourced and conveyed in the media. 

In this way, high school English is concerned with how you – as a student and budding adult –will deal with the onslaught of information around you. 

Whether your learner is bound for post-secondary school or eyeing a quick entrance into the workforce, they will get something out of their high school English course. Chat about the points above, and consider alternative education modes like online high schools to see what works best for them.