I would love to work as a technical writer, copy editor, journalist, or whatever--as long as it's related to writing. I would especially love to freelance and complete contracts every day. So, I've been thinking of getting an English BA with an emphasis on creative writing from National University, as the university would accept me and their program looks solid.

However, I'm not sure if employers would frown upon the university name, and it's not that highly ranked, but I am considering transferring to University of Iowa (the best writing program in the states) that holds a name, but it would be x2 more expensive which would put me in debt.

Is it worth the financial investment? If I can't find a job after graduation but could make at least $1,500/month freelance writing and completing contracts with the degree, then it would be worth it for me.

  • 2
    Offering my opinion only here: Potential employers will be equally impressed, if not more so if you've got things published so even if you do your BA, write. For magazines, newspapers. Anywhere you can practise your craft.
    – Stephen
    Nov 2, 2016 at 10:15
  • Possible duplicate of What jobs or professions involve writing?
    – user16226
    Nov 2, 2016 at 11:50

1 Answer 1


Strictly speaking, you don't need an English degree to get writing jobs, nor are you guaranteed any kind of job in writing/editing/publishing if you have said degree. You get hired when you convince someone that you have the skills and/or experience to do the job. Whether you get that experience in our out of school is often irrelevant.

I can say, as someone who looks at résumés, that I rarely register how "highly-ranked" the university is. I'll notice an Ivy League, obviously, or something out of the country, but beyond that, I'm looking for "completed college/didn't complete college." And if you have a list of publications which takes up the whole page, I might not even care if you have the degree at all.

Particularly with writing, I'm going to want to see samples of your work. Wow me with your turns of phrase and I'm not going to care if you taught yourself with coal on the back of a shovel.

Go where you can afford right now. You can always go back for a master's (or another bachelor's if it comes to that) later on. Don't start out your professional life in crippling debt when you really don't need to. If you were going for law or medicine it might make a difference, but writing is a lot more fungible.

  • 2
    This. However, I would add that while the BA may not open many doors by itself, have you considered a dual-degree. A lot of institutes offer a dual-degree (say Bach of Business/Commerce and Bachelor of Arts). It's usually only an extra year of study, but gives you a qualification in a particular field and also a qualification in a communications based field (writing/English major etc)
    – user18397
    Nov 2, 2016 at 11:22
  • 1
    In all my time hiring writers I looked at three things: basic writing competence, the ability to explain, and experience with the subject matter. 90% of professional writing is knowing what needs to be said to achieve a particular end. Most of that comes from knowledge of the subject matter and the ability to explain. 10% comes from the ability to write a coherent sentence. Most writing jobs require nothing more that basic competence in writing itself. That competence is easy to evaluate, so I didn't need to see a degree to prove it. Most of the writers I hired had degrees in something else.
    – user16226
    Nov 2, 2016 at 12:11

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