English - From Classroom to Career Senior Year
Use the Capstone Course in your English concentration to integrate what you have learned, reflect upon how you have grown at Fairfield, and decide where your path will lead you next. The course also is a chance to sharpen research skills, strengthen a portfolio, and make fresh connections among courses and experiences.
Some of my best talking points for grad school applications were derived from my capstone projects. I minored in both Women's Studies and Environmental Studies and was able to work on some really interesting semester-long pursuits (such as a revitalization project at the Bridgeport Zoo) that also demonstrated my ability to think outside the box and act as part of a team. - Lauren Solari '10, English/Politics major; student, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
You can earn academic credit for two, three-credit internships before you graduate. Use your internship to try out careers, sharpen your resume and cover letter, develop a portfolio, make contacts, and take classroom skills and apply them to the professional world.
Line Up References
You will need professors who are willing to serve as professional references when you apply for internships, jobs or graduate school. Professors and internship advisors make excellent references. Begin looking now for 3+ professors who know you and would be willing to vouch for you. Discuss your future plans with them and ask for advice and guidance. Stay in touch with at least three of them each semester so they can speak about your successes in an informed way.
Seeking out an advisor you admire and compiling references is extremely important. Of course, all of the professors under whom you study are willing to provide wonderful guidance, too. So don't hesitate to ask any of your teachers for advice; Fairfield University's English Department is incredible in huge part because it's comprised of a community of professors who are very supportive and really caring... I wouldn't have made it to graduate school if not for (their) incredible encouragement. And I also wouldn't have the kind of resume I do, with the research assistantship and awards in English and Women's Studies. - Diana Minnocci '10, English
As Graduation Day nears and your job hunt picks up, what materials can you put in a portfolio to market yourself and help show your experience? Create a blog or e-portfolio to both present the work (newspaper stories, poetry, well-crafted essays, videos) and to offer reflections on them. Contact CAS Associate Dean Aaron Perkus to create an e-portfolio.
Service Learning Associates
The Service Learning Associates (SLA) program engages 8 to 10 undergraduates each semester as student leaders to their peers in service-learning courses. Each Associate works intensively with one professor to support a service-learning course which aligns with the Associate's academic background and interests. The Associates meet regularly with both faculty and fellow Associates throughout the semester and attend professional development trainings facilitated by the Office of Service Learning.
I do service learning because I believe that there is more to learning than being inside a classroom, and for as much as I can give, there's even more that I can learn. - Daryll Fay '13, English and Philosophy
Life After Fairfield
English majors find a wide range of occupations and pursuits where they can use their knowledge and skills. Some recent graduates have gone into careers at:
- Publishing houses, such as St. Martin's Press and Random House
- Newspapers such as The Connecticut Post
- Magazines such as Redbook and Rolling Stone
- Plus marketing companies, libraries, public relations agencies, and offices of public officials
Some students have completed the minor in secondary education and qualified for teaching jobs in public and private schools around the northeast. A few have combined their writing skills and an interest in science to work as technical writers. Business firms seek out English majors for their analytic and communication skills.
Still other English majors at Fairfield go to prestigious law schools or study English and related subjects at graduate schools, including the Master of Fine Arts program at Fairfield. Those seeking further education in the last few years have been accepted at such institutions as Boston College, Columbia University, Fordham University, Northwestern University, Sarah Lawrence College.
Talk to your academic advisor and other English faculty about your many options and potential career paths.
The approachability of my professors, throughout my Fairfield career, was extremely beneficial. I wish I had declared my major sooner, because I had a wonderful advisor in the English department once I did declare. She wrote me recommendations, advocated for my acceptance into prestigious honor societies, and continues to be a confidant and friend to this day. - Michael Curran '09, English; teaches English at a prep school in Massachusetts
That's just the start. Take a look at this career information from other University offices that we think is also valuable to English majors.