From a young age, math classes are tracked to group students who are more and less comfortable with numbers. This helps teachers better engage students and ensures that students are being challenged appropriately. As students get older, there are an increasing number of specialized calculus and statistics offerings. For example, the same concepts are taught slightly differently to students intending to major in math versus a natural science versus engineering versus the humanities.
In my experience, English has never taken this approach; it's always been one-size-fits-all. As a result, people who are less inclined towards literature stay away because they're intimated by a subject that feels uncomfortable. That's a shame. No one should be shy about trying a new subject.
I wish English departments would consider tailoring their introductory courses like math departments have and reach out to non-traditional students.