Do our favorite school subjects have an impact on our careers?

Career Paths updated on  November 14, 2023 3 min read

Have you ever wondered how your favorite school subject might have shaped your career if you had chosen differently? Imagine the possibilities! QuillBot wanted to find out which subjects U.S. students favor and how those preferred subjects tie into their career choices. To do so, we polled 1,933 U.S. working professionals.

Key findings

  • English is America’s favorite subject. More than two in five (44%) American working professionals said that English was one of their favorite subjects.
  • Not only did Americans enjoy English but they excelled at it too. Over half (52%) of respondents listed the subject among their strongest from their school days.
  • Link between those who excel in English and work in education. Nearly one in 10 who listed English amongst their strongest subjects now work in education and training.

Exploring America’s favorite and strongest school subjects

English was the country’s top school subject, with 44% of Americans listing the class in their top three favorites. Science and history followed English as the nation’s favorite subjects, with 38% and 35% of Americans listing these as their most enjoyed school subjects, respectively. Psychology was ranked as the fourth most popular subject with 31% of Americans listing it among their favorite subjects.

Languages and geography were the nation’s least favorite subjects, only 11% of Americans ranked languages among their favorite subjects.

Over half of respondents said that English was also one of their strongest subjects at school, which was by far the most in the entire study. Mathematics followed with nearly four in 10 respondents stating that it was one of their strongest subjects.

Economics was the subject that the fewest number of people ranked amongst their strongest, and this was closely followed by geography and languages.

State Breakdown: Does Our Geography Shape Our Career Choices?

When looking at things on a more localized level, most states favored and performed well in English. However, science was the favorite subject in the following states:

  • California
  • Maryland
  • Kansas
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • Washington
  • Arizona

Arizonans not only preferred science, but they said this was the subject they performed the best in, too. Art and history were the most popular subjects in Colorado, and history was the most popular subject in Florida as well. Elsewhere, Massachusetts was the only state to favor psychology.

How Our Favorite School Subjects Shape Our Career Choices

When looking at trends between favorite/best subjects and careers, the data found that 7% of Americans who enjoyed English now work in the education and training sector, meanwhile, a further 5% of English lovers now work in retail.

While the trend of enjoying English class and working in education was strong in most states, it was the strongest in Missouri. Almost one in five (17%) of Missourians who ranked English among their favorite subjects ended up with a career in I education and training.

Almost one in 10 (8%) respondents who enjoyed English went on to work in either information technology or medicine.

When looking at which subjects people performed well in, the results were similar.

Of those who said English was one of their strong subjects, 8% now work in education & training, while 15% of those who excelled in English went on to form a career in either medicine, information technology or retail.

Your favorite school subjects can potentially shape your career path in more ways than you can imagine. Whether you were drawn to the art of communication through English, the mysteries of science, or the lessons of history, your educational journey has left a lasting impact. Don't hesitate to explore your interests and consider how they can be applied in your current or future career.

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We surveyed 1,933 working individuals across the U.S. in September 2023 about how their favorite school subjects impacted their careers. We also broke the data down by state to establish geographical differences and impacts. Survey participants were 48% male, 50% female, and 2% non-binary.


Paige Pfeifer

Paige teaches QuillBot writers about grammar rules and writing conventions. She has a BA in English, which she received by reading and writing a lot of fiction. That is all she knows how to do.

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