A liberal arts college is not just a university with an extra degree or two. It is also about how it teaches its students. These lessons typically go beyond teaching you what to know after graduation, they teach you why knowledge is important and how to apply this knowledge in life.
Liberal arts colleges focus more on educating their students as people rather than training them for a career. This shift in emphasis makes these schools less likely to prioritize gaining you a job over helping you grow into a person.
They may even discourage courses that do not directly relate to your major. By narrowing your field of study, these institutions ensure that you are exposed to many different areas of knowledge.
This exposure gives you a broader understanding of the world and yourself. In fact, several studies show that education at a liberal art school can be just as effective as a bachelor’s degree program.
A liberal arts education is not only about learning how to read, write, and do math- it’s also about educating you in areas like humanities, social studies, natural sciences, and professional fields. These non-technical subjects are called “liberal arts” because they emphasize the importance of literacy, knowledge of humanity, understanding nature, and proficiency in business, politics, and philosophy.
Liberal arts students learn from professors that have diverse backgrounds and teaching styles. Some teach through direct instruction, where the material is presented at length and emphasis is placed on comprehension. Others use interactive strategies, such as asking questions and having student groups discuss concepts together.
Some professors develop relationships with their students, encouraging them to be active participants in the classroom. Students who graduate from college go onto various professions, so these personal connections can influence future employment.
It may sound cliché, but one of the greatest benefits of attending a college or university is the opportunity it provides for lifelong friendships.
Student to teacher ratio
A liberal arts education does not have as many students per instructor as an academic program like business or science, for instance. This is different than having too few instructors in an area of study!
In fact, one of the biggest benefits of attending a college or university that specializes in the liberal arts is the size of class.
You will have one professor teaching one topic per semester, which means there are no very large groups of people listening to lectures from different areas.
This student-to-teacher ratio helps keep classroom dynamics friendly. You will get the chance to explore various topics with just one person at a time, which makes studying more interactive.
Furthermore, professors usually enjoy talking about their field because they are passionate about it. They will sometimes invite other experts into the conversation or let you ask questions if you are curious.
These discussions can easily add value to your education and help you connect ideas in new ways.
A liberal arts college is not like a traditional university with students attending classes in one building that are spread out across different times and locations. Rather, it is more like having a party where everyone comes together for fun activities every once in a while. These parties typically have engaging conversations about interesting topics and people often come from various backgrounds or areas of expertise to contribute something new.
In other words, you will not find yourself sitting in an auditorium listening to your school’s professor talk about quantum mechanics for two hours. That kind of learning happens at the university level, but not at a liberal arts college!
Furthermore, studying political science at a university means spending large amounts of time watching academic lectures and videos. Students must also organize their own study sessions outside of these resources because they are not available to the public.
This is very different at a liberal art college because the educational experience there focuses much more on interacting with others and being exposed to many different ideas and disciplines. In fact, some professors may even ask students if there is anything else they should know before class starts so they can include it during the lecture period. This exposure to all sorts of things helps students learn how to think beyond what has been taught to them previously.
Another important difference between a university and a liberal arts college is the way each school funds its education program. At universities, funding comes mostly through tuition fees paid by current students and future students.
Liberal arts focus
A liberal arts education is not like getting an undergraduate degree at a university, where you can choose to major in anything. You are not choosing between business or economics or sociology or political science, etc.
At a liberal arts college, your major is just a small part of what you’ll study. Your courses are mostly focused on giving you knowledge and skills that are important for living a well-rounded life.
These include things such as studying foreign languages, mathematics, history, philosophy, literature, music, art, and social studies.
You may be required to take these courses outside of your major, but they are still considered essential parts of a liberal arts education.
Furthermore, some colleges have been known to drop the term ‘major’ altogether in favor of having students pick their ‘focus area�’ or ‘track.’ This helps student careers move more quickly because they do not need to rebrand themselves every time they change majors.
Liberal arts degrees often emphasize topics such as literacy, math, language, culture, and ethics, which are all valuable assets to know.
A major that almost every student is allowed to choose is called a “majoring in something” or MSA (for majoring in something academic). Some examples of MSAs are business, psychology, art history, political science, and sociology.
Most universities have students who majored in things like biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. These are referred to as STEM majors or specialty areas of study.
A liberal arts college does not limit you to studying only these fields. You get the same degree from a liberal arts school as you would from a university with more specialized programs. The difference lies in the area of expertise you develop while at the school.
This is important because most employers look for people with specific skills. For example, someone with an MBA can probably manage a company much better than anyone without one.
Liberal arts colleges prepare their students for life by teaching them about different topics and how to apply what they know to other areas. They also encourage students to try out new things and explore all types of knowledge.
Many of these things go beyond just academia and include career development. This is why some call this educational style “general education.” It teaches students how to be productive members of society.
Using popular media such as blogs and YouTube videos, we can learn a lot from the ways different people practice general education. Students should take time to observe what classes seem to succeed and add value for others.
A liberal arts education does not come with huge tuition fees that are prohibitive for most students. Most universities offer some kind of financial assistance to make studying more affordable.
Many have scholarship programs through their school or department, and many employers pay student loans in return for work experience.
Facilities such as libraries and gyms can also be free or very low cost to use.
A liberal arts college is not just a university with an art department, a business school, or a humanities division. It is also about retention. This means how well students stay enrolled at the institution you choose to attend.
Liberal arts colleges focus more on student engagement and participation in the community as part of their education. Some examples include having academic clubs, hosting study sessions or events, offering employment opportunities, etc. These things are important for keeping students engaged and invested in your school.
There are many ways that schools can measure engagement and investment. One way is to look at graduation rates. More broadly, however, there’s a metric called “four year retention.” This looks at whether or not students who enter as freshmen continue going to class every day for four years.
This is different from graduate or professional status, which requires additional courses and degrees beyond the bachelor’s degree. Four-year retention only asks if someone went through undergraduate program costs – no doctoral programs or job offers required!
Graduation and four-year retention rates both show what percentage of students remain actively involved with an educational institution for four years. They, however, don’t tell us much about why some people drop out before then. For those reasons, another metric has emerged – two-year attrition.
Two-year attrition refers to students who entered as freshman, left after one academic year without completing their studies.
Opportunities for leadership
A liberal arts education is not about being the smartest person in the room, it’s about nurturing intelligent people to lead others. While some students may choose to pursue professional degrees after college, most do not.
Liberal arts colleges offer more than just an excellent degree program — they prepare you to be an engaged citizen of our society. You get out of these schools not only knowledge, but also valuable skills like critical thinking, writing, listening, and research.
These qualities are invaluable at all times, but especially in today’s interconnected world where issues such as social justice, equality, and democracy are top priorities.
You will leave school with a wide range of academic tools that can be applied to many areas. This includes courses in humanities (literature, sociology, philosophy), natural sciences (biology, physics, chemistry), quantitative subjects (math, economics) as well as business classes.