The Necessity of Grade 12 English

When it comes to English class many people feel that it is an unnecessary course. And yet, it is the only course required every year of grade school, from kindergarten to grade 12. In researching programs I’m interested in applying to for university, I’ve noticed that no matter what type of program you apply to whether arts, sciences or social sciences, grade 12 university level English is a requirement.

It makes sense to require university level grade 12 English. No, you probably won’t be blog-post-1using Shakespeare in a biology lab, but the skills you learn in an English course extend far beyond the specific situation that they were used in class. You learn to think about deeper meanings and extract the essential information when analyzing texts, connect and question the factuality of information, clearly convey information through writing, as well as being able to support an opinion or statement. No matter what course or program you go into, presenting information in writing and extracting information when reading will be required. For most university classes textbook readings are essential, however,
textbooks contain enormous amounts of information, so, being able to find the most relevant information is crucial for success.

These are skills which also apply in real-life situations, even though you may not realize it at the time.Listening to or reading the news is a practical example of a time when you probably connect what you hear or read to other stories trending in the media, and maybe question the accuracy of the perspective of the reporter. In nearly any job you might have in the future, you will most likely have to present information in writing, whether requesting money or providing information in a report. No one likes to read pages and pages of rambling, and so, being able to keep writing relevant and concise is an essential skill, which you ideally improve upon in English class.

Granted, everyone has their own opinions about the curriculum content of high school English courses. Some people like the course, some people hate reading and writing and therefore it isn’t exactly their favourite course. When I think about why we as students are required to take English class every year, and by talking to the teachers I’ve had, I’ve realized that it’s to help us in our other courses by teaching us to think, question information and read in a more meaningful way; not to simply take things at face value and accept them as factual. What are some situations outside of English class that you’ve used information or skills you learned in class? (In other courses or outside of school).

On that note, to me anyways, it definitely makes sense for grade 12 university English to be an acceptance requirement for all university programs since the thinking and writing skills that are learned apply to pretty much all academic studies.

If you’re interested in some applicable reading, the links below are for Western University and University of British Columbia’s websites with their English requirements. Essentially, it says that in order to be successful at an English university in Canada there is a minimum level of competence in English reading and writing required, for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

Western University:



Sources Cited:

“English Language Admissions Requirements.” UBC | Undergraduate Programs and Admissions, Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.
“English Language Proficiency Requirements.” English Language Proficiency Requirements – Admission Requirements – Welcome to Western – Western University, Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.
“How Can I Get the Best Deal on College Textbooks?” Best Value Schools, Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.





7 thoughts on “The Necessity of Grade 12 English”

  1. I had a lot of the same thoughts, that English helps you with all aspects of life by teaching you critical thinking and analyzing and such, but do you think 3U English would be enough for some courses? I mean, of course it would be helpful to have 4U, but maybe there are some university programs that you should really only need 3U for? What are your thoughts on that?


    1. Definitely! I think that some programs probably would only need 3U English for the core work, but I think that since English/an essay course is required in at least first year of I think almost every university program, 4U English is important to help you succeed. You might not necessarily learn anything specifically new, but I think the idea is to help further and improve the skills that I mentioned in my post. Basically, practice makes (almost) perfect 🙂


  2. I really like all your points. English does help us in everyday life. English helps us to succeed in other classes. However I believe that it only helps to a certain extent. If that English course that is supposed to help us with our life and other classes, then why does it seem like English work towers over nay of our other classes work. It starts to pile up so much with reading, and writing and analyzing, English starts to take priority to other classes, classes that specifically relate to the university program that we are interested in. I find that if English is supposed to help us, it should actually help us, not drag our other marks down, if only by a couple percent, it still happens. I think that if we are to have to take Grade 12 University English, it should be made less of a heavy course load, maybe only 2 or 3 books in the semester instead of 5 or 6. What do you think?


    1. I completely agree! While it is an important class, in class assignments often take HOURS to complete, and some people are slow readers which often leads to SparkNotes-ing everything. I agree both quality of work and consequently, marks would probably be improved if there were fewer books to have to read.


  3. I agree with a lot of your points. English is a wonderful tool that will help us moving forward in life. However, I also agree with some of the other comments. Sometimes 3U may be enough. It still helps us find the important parts in texts, and gives us most of the communication tools we need. I think that every program should have an English prerequisite to show that you have the right skills. Whether that be note taking, presenting, or communication in general. What do you think?


    1. Yeah for sure! The three things you mentioned at the end are definitely skills you practice in English class. I think the biggest skills English class is meant to teach us are interpretation of literature and abstract thinking, but those two skills usually go into the things you mentioned.


  4. I couldn’t agree more! Like we don’t learn trigonometry to use it for our jobs. Rather, we learn it because it helps us develop the abstract thinking that can be used for other things in life. It is just like in English! We don’t need Shakespeare but it does help us understand to analyze any kind of literature, which can be useful academic skill. I liked all of your points, great job!


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