English grammar and writing play an important role in almost every educational pursuit. Even if your planned career won't require any writing, you'll still have to write emails and have a basic understanding of English grammar. College classes in these topics can help you get the basic skills you need for a career and for further educational pursuits, but they can also impact your overall GPA or take you away from other pursuits.
Basic Skills Mastery
No matter what career you choose, you'll need basic English grammar and writing skills. From writing an email to drafting a long memo, having strong English skills will help you be taken more seriously. You'll also use writing and grammar skills in most of your other classes. For example, you might have to write a research paper in a science or sociology class, and you will have to communicate clearly to your professors via emails.
If you master the basics of English grammar and writing, you could improve your grades in other classes, particularly those that require you to write papers. However, students who need English classes the most -- those who struggle with basic writing and grammar skills -- can experience a dip in grades when they take English classes. A student who has avoided writing classes could have a stellar GPA, and struggling in an English class could cause his GPA to drop.
Most colleges require students to take at least an introductory English course that includes writing and grammar. At the University of Georgia, for example, students have to take two introductory-level English classes. They can also take additional classes to meet their elective requirements. Students who take a broad variety of English classes may have better writing and communication skills. However, filling all of your elective requirements with English classes could mean you miss out on learning other skills.
Feelings About English
Students who learn basic grammar and writing skills may have more appreciation for works of literature and could feel more comfortable writing and reading, according to developmental psychologist John Holt in his classic text, "How Children Fail." Holt emphasizes, however, that classes that focus on repetitive drilling and that fail to make the material relevant to everyday life can actually cause students to dislike reading and English. Choosing a course taught by a well-respected teacher can help you avoid this problem.
- How Children Fail; John Holt; 1995
- Wellesley College: English
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.