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It’s a question that every parent asks: what can you do with a Classics Concentration after college? In our increasingly competitive global marketplace and with the high costs of a college education, it’s perfectly natural for people to wonder if Classics is a good investment. So we’d like to take a couple minutes to talk about the benefits, both tangible and intangible, that people can get from spending their time with the Greeks and Romans.

Lives and Careers in Classics

What do the co-founders of Facebook and Adobe Systems have in common with the first African American to earn a Harvard Ph.D.? What about the lead singer of Coldplay and the former mayor of London? The authors of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and the governor of California?

They all studied Classics! And they’re not the only ones. Studying Greek, Latin, and Classical Civilizations has put people on the path to running billion-dollar media companies (even when their parents wanted them to study something more “practical”!), winning the Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel Prize for Literature, winning Super Bowls, and becoming U.S. Secretary of Defense. The Society for Classical Studies, the largest organization in the world dedicated to the study of the ancient Mediterranean, provides even more examples of how a passion for Classics can help in many careers after college.

Wherever you plan to go and whatever you want to do, Classics can help you along the way. Planning to continue your education in law or medicine? Harvard Magazine says Classics majors perform best in Law School, and the Association of American Medical Colleges reports that Classics majors have a higher success rate getting into Medical School than biology majors. Thinking about a non-professional program? The American Academy of Arts & Sciences shows that Classics majors on average score higher than anyone else on the verbal and quantitative (!) sections of the GRE, as well as on the GRE writing section. Discover Magazine says Classics majors are some of the smartest students. This isn’t too surprising. Studying ancient Greek and Latin is one of the best ways to expand your vocabulary, since 60% of all English words, including 90% of STEM vocabulary, derives from Greek or Latin. It also sharpens your analytical skills and prepares you for careers in technology, since you acquire a deep knowledge of grammar and learn how to break apart complex ideas into more manageable parts. If you want to prepare for the future, build a strong foundation grounded in the ancient past!