Why Study Classics?
Students study the Classics for a variety of intellectual and practical reasons.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “To read the Latin and Greek authors in their original, is a sublime luxury…. I enjoy Homer in his own language infinitely beyond Pope’s translation of him…. I thank on my knees, him who directed my early education, for having put into my possession this rich source of delight; and I would not exchange it for anything which I could then have acquired, and have not since acquired. (Letter to Priestley, Jan. 27, 1800).
The Princeton Review writes:
We can’t overestimate the value of a Classics major. Check this out: according to Association of American Medical Colleges, students who major or double-major in Classics have a better success rate getting into medical school than do students who concentrate solely in biology, microbiology, and other branches of science. Crazy, huh? Furthermore, according to Harvard Magazine, Classics majors (and math majors) have the highest success rates of any majors in law school. Believe it or not: political science, economics, and pre-law majors lag fairly far behind. Even furthermore, Classics majors consistently have some of the highest scores on GREs of all undergraduates.
Shocked? Don’t be. One reason Classics majors are so successful is that they completely master grammar. Medical terminology, legal terminology, and all those ridiculously worthless vocabulary words on the GRE (and the SAT) have their roots in Greek and Latin. Ultimately, though, Classics majors get on well in life because they develop intellectual rigor, communications skills, analytical skills, the ability to handle complex information, and, above all, a breadth of view which few other disciplines can provide.
For a nice synopsis of what majoring in Classics entails and the varied career options are out there, see Careers for Classicists, put out by the Society for Classical Studies.