Liberal Arts College: Everything You Need to Know
This refers to an institution of higher learning that focuses chiefly on undergraduate studies in the liberal arts. A liberal arts college takes a broad approach to the humanities, arts, social sciences, and STEM instead of a technical or professional curriculum to prepare students for a specific occupation. Even if a student has a major in a particular field, they still get exposure to various other subjects in the form of required courses or an open curriculum. The goal of these institutions isn’t necessarily to train students for a career but to make them critical thinkers, challenge their beliefs, and help them to become global citizens.
The key advantages of liberal arts colleges include:
Critical thinking: At liberal arts colleges, classes are usually smaller and involve classroom discussions almost on a regular basis. This provides students with the opportunity to hear different perspectives, communicate their ideas and thoughts, and think critically.
Access to professors: At liberal arts colleges, usually, professors teach classes, including introductory courses. There’re few or no teaching assistants, which means students can easily get personal attention from professors. Professors also get to spend more quality time with students, evaluate their work more closely, and serve as mentors.
Emphasis on undergraduate education: Unlike large universities that may offer lots of professional, graduate, and Ph.D. programs, liberal arts colleges mainly focus on undergraduate programs.
Well-rounded education: Liberal arts institutions let students take classes in many disciplines. A liberal arts degree is usually meant to prepare students for different career paths. For example, a student with an English major can learn political science, philosophy, and history, making them more versatile.
The disadvantages include:
Less hands-on skills: As liberal arts colleges don’t focus on developing technical skills, their students usually have less direct, hands-on skills compared to their professional degree counterparts. It means liberal arts students may still need to learn fundamental job skills outside of their courses to be employable and marketable.
Higher cost: At most liberal arts institutions, earning a liberal arts degree is quite expensive. It means students may get placed in debt upon graduation.
Lots of students choose liberal arts colleges to ensure that the focus remains on learning instead of getting training for a future career. That isn’t to say that liberal arts graduates don’t become professionals later on – they surely do. However, a student’s time spent in a liberal arts college is more focused on preparing for life instead of work.