Recent debates about higher education have focused almost exclusively on whether or not students should prioritize acquiring skills over developing knowledge, and if institutions of higher learning that emphasize the former are worth it.
Many people feel that pursuing an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts is no longer appropriate due to concerns such as cost and availability. Others argue that the field has played an important role in shaping who becomes successful in life by fostering self-awareness, understanding of others, and respect for other viewpoints.
But just how many “liberal arts” colleges exist? And what does it mean to be considered one?
There are several ways to define what makes an institution of higher learning consider themselves part of the liberal art tradition. Some include requiring courses outside the major area while also offering ones within those areas, having courses with philosophical underpinnings, and teaching literacy and communication skills.
The term “arts” can sometimes get mixed up with “liberal.” For example, some schools might refer to business programs as art courses since they teach managerial and creative strategies. However, we will use the more classic definition here! This article will discuss all the different definitions and why they matter.
Reasons students should consider a liberal arts degree
A liberal art degree is not necessarily an expensive one, but it does require more than just your average student. These courses focus more on educating you as a person and preparing you for life in the 21st century.
Liberal arts degrees emphasize studying literature, philosophy, history, and other areas that teach us about our culture and the world around us. This is important because every individual comes from a cultural background and therefore everyone has their own ideas of what things are significant and meaningful.
These cultures can be internalized (knowledge of self) or externalized (knowledge of others). Internalizing cultures means understanding yourself and how to apply lessons learned to your daily life, while externalizing includes learning about different cultures so you can understand why they do certain things and what parts of theirs you may have in common with them.
This is also called comparative studies.
Degree programs a liberal arts college offers
A degree program is not just one thing, it can be made up of many different things such as art courses, business classes, humanities courses, fitness classes, music lessons, etc. These are typically referred to as “fields” or “tracks” in university terminology because they form what we call a track system.
At most universities there are only so many slots available for each field, and people have to apply and be accepted into those fields. This creates competition between students seeking admission into a particular field and schools trying to recruit new members to their team.
A student may need both an art major and criminal justice minor but only has room for one at a time. If he/she gets admitted into the art department he/she will have to drop the other field which means they would need to look elsewhere for education. The same goes if someone wants to get a criminology degree, they will also need to give up on their dreams of being an artist!
The more generalist degrees like English, sociology, history and others do not require much depth within them, making them attractive to students looking to broaden their horizons. Some even say that having these non-field specific degrees is the best way to learn about life due to all the rich information they contain.
Liberal arts colleges emphasize educating students beyond teaching them individual subjects. They promote thinking outside the box and helping students develop self-confidence.
Advantages of going to a liberal arts school
The term ‘liberal arts’ comes from Ancient Greece, where it referred to the study of literature, philosophy, and other topics that are now categorized as humanities. Prior to the Renaissance, these studies were only available to wealthy people because they depended heavily on literacy.
Since then, though, this idea has spread. Today, many schools use the term ‘liberal arts�’ not just to refer to those areas, but also business, science, mathematics, and more. This is why some people call them ‘general education’ or ‘foundation degrees’- they give you a strong base in everything.
There are several reasons why an undergraduate degree in art, music, history, or any of the others mentioned here is important to have. First, most jobs require at least one year of work experience, so attending college for a full two years gives you time to find a job and start working!
Second, even if you never go back to graduate level studying afterwards, every bachelor’s degree includes general skills like writing, research, and communication. These are things anyone can pick up later in life, which is valuable.
Third, learning about different cultures and how they relate to each other teaches you something about yourself, your own culture, and how we influence others. This is a very personal topic that everyone needs to deal with at some point in their lives.
Disadvantages of going to a liberal arts school
The first significant drawback is that there are not as many professional opportunities available to you after college if your goal is to make a career out of something such as teaching or psychology.
Liberal arts colleges do offer some vocational training courses, but most students don’t take these programs seriously because they feel that everything in the curriculum has little relation to “real life.”
Furthermore, several fields require strong writing skills, so poor writers may be limited in their careers depending on what field they choose to work in.
General education classes like English, history, and sociology can also play an important role in helping you pick up new things about the world.
However, it will not necessarily help you learn how to write well or study any particular subject area in-depth.
Which colleges have both a high acceptance rate and a low acceptance rate?
The term “liberal arts” has been thrown around quite a bit in recent years, but what does it mean? More specifically, how many schools fit this definition?
Liberal arts education can be summed up as learning that goes beyond teaching you specific knowledge and skills. It teaches you how to think critically, how to communicate effectively, and how to live your life with integrity.
It also encourages students to study things from different perspectives, which helps them develop their thinking skills. This is important because we live in a world where there are ever-changing demands for new ideas.
General academic subjects like English, mathematics, history, and science help you learn about lots of different topics, so they are valuable resources for studying any field. These generalists will give you the tools to analyze anything.
But while liberal arts degrees focus on giving you these general talents, they do not take a single subject or area too seriously. This gives you the freedom to pick and choose what areas interest you.
Factors to consider when choosing a liberal arts school
Choosing a college can be tricky, especially these days with all of the options available! Luckily, there are some things you can look into to help determine if this is the right fit for you.
First, what are we talking about when we say “liberal arts”? The term refers to the study of knowledge that comes from human culture. This includes studying literature, art, music, and anything else that has been gathered by humans to convey their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
Liberal arts schools typically require students to take at least one year to focus exclusively on just one area – like writing or mathematics – before moving onto another. This gives your student time to explore each field and learn how it fits them as a person, and helps them find their personal passion.
Another important part of being educated in the liberal arts is learning how to evaluate evidence and ideas logically. This is also referred to as logical thinking, which many careers require you to do on a daily basis. You will probably need to use reasoning and logic to assess both academic content and worldly issues, so teaching yourself how to do this early on will prepare you for lots of situations.
Some examples of courses found in the liberal arts include English, history, psychology, political science, sociology, economics, math, and philosophy. All of these areas overlap, too, making it easy to connect one topic to another.
Research your interest in a field before you go to college
Even though there are not as many academic institutions that offer only liberal arts, they are still out here! You do not have to be completely focused on studying literature, philosophy, and art for an undergraduate degree if you do not want to.
Many universities offer students the chance to focus more on specific areas within the humanities, such as anthropology or sociology. These two fields combine social studies with learning about human anatomy and evolution, which are both important pieces of the humanities.
Students can also choose to major in history, which is just using educated guesses to piece together information about past events, cultures, and lessons learned from them.
By focusing on these parts of the humanities, it is easier to see how different topics relate to each other and what common themes arise.
Talk to students who have graduated
After college, what do most liberal arts graduates choose to be? A teacher is a great way to recognize that you’ve found your career. More than half of all BA degree recipients are teachers, making it one of the top careers for BA holders.
Other popular career choices include business professional (8%–10%), social worker or counselor (7%) and public servant like police officer or firefighter (5%).
Teaching is a long-term profession with many opportunities, which may appeal to individuals who value education as well as teaching experience. Because of this, there are many routes into teaching after graduation. Some people start out by teaching kindergarten before moving up the ladder.
Another option is to become an educational consultant or recruiter. This can be done directly through a university or via companies that recruit for schools and professions. Both positions require extensive research and preparation to succeed.