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a pair of glasses and a pen on an open bookEach year graduating English majors at Asbury University take the ETS Major Field Test for Literature in English. The two-hour exam is computer-based and compares them to thousands of other students at colleges and universities across the country.

Over the past 10 years, Asbury English majors have consistently placed in or near the top 10 percent of test-takers. This year’s graduating seniors raised the bar to an all-time high by scoring at the 98th percentile.

In addition to finishing in the top 2% of all those who took the test, this year’s cohort of highly talented graduates will be putting their well-developed writing and analytical skills to good use next year in graduate schools and in the fields of business, teaching, non-profit organizations and publishing.

English Department Chair Dr. Chuck Gobin notes that the test scores demonstrate the program’s emphasis on a robust, classical curriculum as well as the commitment of its students.

“We are blessed with majors who love to read widely and to think deeply,” Gobin said.

Assistant Professor Erin Penner pointed to another factor behind the noteworthy achievement: the personal investment of her colleagues.

“Our students have found a home in our department, often stopping in to visit several of us over the course of an afternoon,” Penner said. “Here, they’ve learned to see more in the reading and their own writing than they did at first, and to push themselves for more.”

In this year’s exit survey, graduating seniors were asked to name some of the strengths of Asbury’s English Department. Among the many strengths listed were “professors who love literature relentlessly and call out that same love in us” and “courses with readings and paper assignments that challenge us to think more broadly and teach us to argue effectively.”