Recent debates about whether or not college is worth it have focused largely on two things: how expensive it can be, and what kind of career you will get out of it. But there’s another important factor to consider: what kind of person you will become because of your education.
Liberal arts colleges focus heavily on educating students through the study of the humanities (languages, literature, history) as well as the sciences and mathematics. These types of schools promote an understanding that no one has all the answers, which helps develop critical thinking and communication skills in addition to knowledge.
Some even argue that these qualities are more valuable than pure academic training since socialization is a key component of being human.
Costly? Absolutely! But this argument typically discounts the importance of developing personal relationships, self-awareness, and other non-monetary benefits of higher education. These are essential components for healthy living and functioning as a member of society.
I’m talking about investing in yourself by studying at least one language per year, taking some art courses, and exploring different areas of science and math beyond just the basics. This way you won’t only be spending money on tuition, but also on buying books and materials outside the school system.
A liberal arts degree isn’t necessarily free, but it doesn’t cost a ton either.
Definition of art
Art is making things with your hands or using your mind to create images, patterns, shapes, and/or texts that express internal thoughts, emotions, or experiences.
Many people associate art only with painting, sculpture, and producing written materials, but there are many other forms of artistic expression. For example, musicians write songs, dancers choreograph dances, writers produce stories, and filmmakers make movies.
All of these artists use their talents to convey an idea, set a tone, and/or tell a story. Some do it more skillfully than others, but they all relate to each other’s work in some way.
Artists depend heavily on creativity for success. In fact, according to several studies, being creative is one of the most important qualities in successful professionals.
In addition to creating his paintings, Michelangelo also designed sculptures and built complex architecture. Steven Spielberg made his fortune as a filmmaker while relying mostly on talent instead of special effects.
Liberal arts colleges focus less on just teaching students how to apply knowledge directly from textbooks and courses, and more on preparing you to be creative problem-solvers who can take what you have learned and apply it towards achieving your goals.
These skills are not limited to your field of study, and employers look for them in job candidates.
Definition of discipline
Discipline is characterized as consistency, focus, and effort to consistently perform an activity.
Consistency is key because it creates a feeling of security for the person being disciplined. The consistent behavior gives them confidence that what they are doing is correct, even when you’re not necessarily feeling like it.
A lot of people use motivation or inspiration as reasons to exercise, but if you don’t feel like exercising then you haven’t really done anything. Consistent workouts help mitigate this internal struggle and give you a sense of calmness, knowledge, and self-confidence.
In school, students will go through several courses with no real emphasis given to any one topic. Students must learn how to apply themselves to different subjects outside of their major, which is why education should be considered a form of training.
Having a degree in something related to art, music, literature, or social studies can help prepare you for many things such as teaching, coaching, business development, etc. This would also make your career more interesting since you could pursue either professional position.
Definition of practice
A field that encourages students to be independent, self-directed learners who are also given opportunities to put their skills into use is called an apprenticeship model. This approach is very common in professional settings where people have to climb up the ladder towards top leadership positions.
In the apprentice model, there is usually one more experienced person or group of people that teach others the basics or fundamentals of doing a job. Then these new hires can work under them for some time before being promoted onto the next level. This way, they get trained from someone with more experience, while still developing their own skill set.
Academic fields such as art, literature, music, and business all rely heavily on this principle. Students are not only taught how to create what they love, but also learn about other areas of study that help them develop career paths after college.
These courses typically focus on educating the student through analytical thinking, reasoning, and understanding different concepts like theories and philosophies. Many academic disciplines even emphasize helping students develop social relationships, which is important for success later in life.
Definition of degree
A liberal arts degree focuses not just on learning about knowledge, but also on how to process that information, what it means to you, and how to apply those concepts in everyday life.
A bachelor’s degree is typically three years long (undergrad), and most colleges offer at least one major in each discipline — literature, math, science, etc. Students are usually required to take many courses outside their main field, too. These other subjects are called “non-major courses” or “general education” because they help you develop skills like teamwork, communication, and time management.
Some schools add an extra year for master’s degrees, which are often referred to as MBA (master’s in business administration) or MFA (master’s in fiction writing). Both of these require additional coursework beyond the regular bachelor’s degree.
The term “liberal art” comes from ancient Greece. Ancient Greeks valued the study of humanities – language, literature, music, and philosophy – more than any specific area. They considered this broader understanding to be important for leadership, self-knowledge, and personal growth.
Graduates with BA degrees can choose to go into almost anything – teaching, medicine, law, business, engineering…the list goes on! But overall, people who attend college have graduate level training in literacy, mathematics, logic, reasoning, and linguistics.
Definition of degree based
A liberal arts education is not about what kind of certificate you have or which courses you took. It’s not even necessarily about how many times you repeat terms like literature, math, and philosophy.
It is, however, consistently focused on toying with ideas, concepts, and language in order to apply these tools to different topics and areas. In other words, it teaches you how to think.
This more holistic approach to learning was popularized back when universities were exclusively academic institutions that produced well-rounded individuals. Back then, people valued this type of person — someone who could relate diverse information together and use it effectively.
Today, though, commerce increasingly dominates our culture. Students are constantly exposed to messages that promote materialism over saving money for things later (a mentality that encourages consumption) or spending your life chasing after bigger and faster rewards instead of investing in relationships that last.
With ever-expanding technology making content easy to access, there’s less incentive to learn beyond what one can put onto one’s computer or smartphone.
Definition of important
The key defining feature of an art college is that it teaches you to make things — whether they are paintings, sculptures, or digital creations.
Art schools focus extensively on teaching students how to use materials and techniques to create aesthetically pleasing works that express their internal experiences and exist in a context beyond just being pretty. This emphasis shifts the perception of what art is and gives students the opportunity to explore new styles and genres.
Many liberal arts colleges emphasize creative writing as well. While most people associate poetry with words, some poets mix up using language with creating stories through rhythm and pattern. Creative writers often combine these modes to convey messages or ideas.
Liberal arts colleges also teach students about humanities, which include history, literature, and philosophy. These subjects influence how you view the world around you and help you understand other cultures and viewpoints.
It is very difficult to separate artistic skills from other non-artistic ones like business or leadership training. Many artists have learned how to manage money, organize meetings, or market products after studying those concepts elsewhere.
Definition of less important
A liberal arts education is not focused only on math, science, and engineering. These are all very important areas to have, but educating yourself about many different subjects is just as significant.
Liberal arts courses tend to be more broadly defined than other types of college courses. For example, sociology is considered a part of social studies, so some universities combine these two together under one major.
Another example is English literature, which can include things like poetry or fiction. Some people even consider this area of study to be its own separate field!
These types of courses help you understand how our society functions and what makes us individuals as human beings. This is an essential tool in developing your understanding of life and the world around you.
Furthermore, studying humanities (liberal arts) is a great way to learn about a variety of topics that are interesting to you. Many students enjoy learning about art, culture, history, and philosophy.
Definition of university
That is, it teaches you how to think systematically about knowledge and experience in order to achieve goals. These skills are not limited to academic fields but apply across all areas of life.
Liberal arts colleges focus heavily on these non-technical skills like critical thinking, reading, writing, and mathematics. At an undergraduate level, students typically take courses in literature, philosophy, history, economics, political science, and more.
At graduate levels, they may choose to specialize in subjects such as English or sociology. But no matter what degree program a student chooses to enter after college, the general education that every liberal arts major receives helps prepare them for anything.
These soft skills also help develop teamwork and communication abilities. Students learn how to form relationships with others, how to listen, debate issues, and work together towards a common goal.
It can be hard to find jobs without having adequate proficiency in these areas, so developing them now is important. Furthermore, people use these skills in various settings — maybe working for a company, living with a partner, running a business, etc.
Thus, these are highly marketable skills. Many employers look at degrees more than specific majors, so even if you don’t teach classes in literary theory, your degree still matters (to them).