Introduction

Are you interested in earning a degree that can serve as the foundation for many different career choices? Going to English school and earning an English degree may be the solution you are looking for. Studying English, simply stated, is the study of four things: literature, grammar, composition, and speech.

The dictionary defines literature, both fiction and nonfiction, as written works that have been deemed as having superior or lasting merit. Studying literature has much value. The cognitive skills needed to understand the figurative meaning of a poem or to analyze a passage of literature transfer to other settings. Individuals capable of thinking in complex, logical sequences make better employees.

Beyond that, studying literature can also help to explore other cultures and beliefs and teach us to see individual bias. It expands our vocabularies. It explores ethical complexities. It can help us to learn better ways to behave, and it also encourages us to question "accepted" knowledge. Additionally, it expands our grasp of history as history and literature are indisputably linked. All of these skills transfer across the board of professions as valuable assets.

Grammar is the second component of studying English. Grammar involves studying the rules of syntax and the structure of a language. A strong grasp of grammar gives a person greater ability to shape words into sentences and begin to write more effectively.

Composition is the third component of studying English. Composition is the act of creating written works. English school can greatly enhance a person’s ability to communicate through the written word. Strong written communication skills are a must for many professions, and many employers across the career spectrum are very interested in applicants who have strong written communication skills.

Speech is the spoken form of human communication. The study of speech is very helpful in public speaking. Public speaking is speaking to a group of people in a deliberate manner in order to inform, influence, or entertain. Strong oral communication skills are necessary in many job settings.

The benefits of going to an English school and earning an English degree are two-fold. First, through literature, it provides strong skills in logic and reasoning and in understanding and analyzing complex materials. Second, through the study of grammar, composition, and speech, English education makes one an effective communicator in both written and oral contexts.

With the skills and qualities you gain through school, and an English degree, you will have an effective base for many different career paths.

Choosing a School

When choosing a school, there are many important factors to consider. First, you should consider the location of the school. Is the school in the country of your choice, and can you see yourself living in the region of the country in which the school is located?

As you think about the location, you should also consider the transportation and housing issues that will arise once you are enrolled and attending the school. How will you travel from your home to the school? Once at the school, how will you arrive to your classes each day? Where will you live? As you weigh your options, think about the combined costs there will be for the program itself, housing, and transportation.

Another factor to consider is the student population, both in its size and in its racial diversity. Consider the size of the school and the average class size. Evaluate whether you will feel comfortable there.

You will also want to find out whether the faculty is qualified. You will want to know what credentials they have, where they received their education, and how long they have been teaching.

You should talk to other students enrolled at the school to receive first-hand feedback as to what the program is really like.

Finally, you should also consider whether or not the institution is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting body. Accreditation simply ensures that the program adheres to proper standards of education recognized by reliable authorities. When you are finished with your course of study, you want your degree to be more than just a piece of paper.

Accreditation

Accreditation is the act of granting authority or sanction to an educational program. Simply stated, it is acknowledging that the program meets certain recognized standards. In order to be accredited, a program must participate in a system of peer review. Through the ongoing reaccreditation process, a school can make sure they are continuing to offer quality education. Accreditation publicly recognizes quality programs as well as assures the quality of the programs to the public. It also provides a means of ongoing self-assessment as well as provides an objective means for reviewing programs to see what changes need to be made.

Different countries have different methods of accreditation. In the United Kingdom, schools should be British Council Accredited. In the United States, the federal government plays a very limited role in accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation do not accredit individual institutions. Instead, they depend on private accreditation commissions and member institutions. There are 52 recognized national accreditors in the United States that accredit for-profit institutions. These institutions offer vocational, career or technical programs.

Five of the most common national accreditors are:

  1. DETC (Distance Education and Training Council)
  2. ACICS (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools)
  3. ACCSCT (Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology)
  4. ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training)
  5. COE (Council on Occupational Education).

There are also regionally accredited schools for academically oriented, non-profit institutions.

The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredits in:

  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • the District of Columbia
  • the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits in the states of:

  • Connecticut
  • Main
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Rhode Island

The Higher Learning Commission accredits in:

  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • New Mexico
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits in:

  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Idaho
  • Alaska
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Oregon

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits in:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Palau
  • American Samoa
  • Guam
  • Micronesia
  • Northern Marianas Islands

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits in:

  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Virginia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina

Rankings of Schools

Schools are ranked by a variety of different sources. Each source has different criteria that it uses to rank schools resulting in varied rankings. Two common sources for rankings are the U.S. News & World Report and the StudentsReview.com. Both collect their data and determine their rankings very differently.

One way to rank such institutions is on the basis of a combination of empirical statistics. One such ranking is the U.S. News & World Report. The U.S. News & World Report collects data from surveys that they send to schools and from surveys that they send to faculty. They also tabulate data from surveys that they send to the schools and from surveys that they send to faculty.

Another way to rank schools is similar to the way TheStudentsReview.com collects data. They survey the students themselves, asking both fact and opinion questions. In other rankings, surveys are given to educators, scholars, students, prospective students and others. The scope of the rankings can be different as well. Some rankings evaluate the institutions of one country, whereas other rankings assess all institutions worldwide.

You will find rankings of universities and colleges and whole entities as well as rankings of specific programs within these academic entities. Important criteria for ranking English schools might be how well the school prepares their students to be successful after college, what number of graduates are able to acquire jobs, and how likely students are to earn a degree from the program.

With any ranking you consider, it is important to find out how the data was tabulated and what specific criteria were considered. Rankings can be useful to help you evaluate the schools you are considering, but you should also make sure that it meets your own personal criteria. You may have some specific qualities you are looking for in a school and can develop your own criteria of ranking to help you narrow down your choices. The bottom line is that you are the one who must live with the choice you make.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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