Value of Liberal Arts: 5 Ways to Benefit from a Liberal Arts Education


Value of Liberal Arts: 5 Ways to Benefit from a Liberal Arts Education

A liberal arts student receives an undergraduate degree after studying across fields ranging from the social and physical sciences to the humanities. Most liberal arts colleges offer majors and minors, where students select and specialize in a discipline, but they also have “course requirements” aimed at diversifying the courses in which each student enrolls. Future employers understand that a degree from a liberal arts college or university means that a student has completed coursework outside of his or her major and has learned about a variety of fields and topics.

So, what is the value of liberal arts? Is a liberal arts education the right fit for you? What will you gain from this type of college experience, as opposed to receiving a more specialized degree or attending a technical college? Many of the best STEM programs in the US are actually found on liberal arts campuses. If you're considering majoring in something such as engineering, you might also look to liberal arts schools like Harvey Mudd. Here are some things you will do as a liberal arts student.

#1 Value of Liberal Arts: You will acquire knowledge across disciplines

Liberal arts students acquire broad knowledge across disciplines. This experience teaches awareness of the world beyond a single field, as well as an appreciation of the efforts and interests of peers, friends, and community members. A liberal arts education recognizes the inherent value of diversity: to understand the world and areas of study broadly makes someone more self-aware and more aware of society as a whole. Traditional liberal arts educations focused on shaping educated citizens, who would be strong contributors to their community, as well as specialists in a field. Today’s liberal arts schools uphold the importance of educational diversity, which will help make you a well-rounded thinker and community member.

#2 Value of Liberal Arts: You will step outside of your academic comfort zone

A liberal arts education means students have to challenge themselves in new ways. Are you a student who excels at science and critical thinking? The value of liberal arts is that you will also enroll in English classes or study history. Are you a student who prefers the fine arts and theater? You will also challenge yourself in a math class. The value of these broad “course requirements” is that you’ll be asked to expand your ways of thinking, learning, and studying. You’ll learn about yourself and your strengths and weaknesses as a student through these challenges.

#3 Value of Liberal Arts: You will develop an adaptable set of skills

One of the values of a liberal arts education is that many of the skills acquired during your education are transferable across disciplines and careers. You’ll find that you need a similar set of skills to be successful, nearly regardless of your major or career: strong writing abilities, advanced reading skills, the ability to interpret information, public speaking confidence, and critical thinking skills. This skill set can be gained in different fields and practiced in a variety of courses. Enrolling in a diverse set of college classes helps you develop these skills through repetition and exposure, as well as through application. You can master these skills as you apply what you learned in one class towards a different  context in another one of your classes.

#4 Value of Liberal Arts: You will be prepared for career shifts

Employers acknowledge the value of a liberal arts education, which provides students with a strong set of skills, as well as opportunities to apply these skills in different contexts. Adaptability is an excellent trait in the work force. Employers will know that you can be comfortable with a range of tasks and that you’re an innovative thinker. Also, you will be qualified for a broad range of jobs compared to a student with a specialized or technical degree. When applying for a job that doesn’t align exactly with your major, you’ll be able to point out the coursework and skills that are applicable to this position.

#5 Value of Liberal Arts: You will learn to always question your assumptions

Within a field or area of study, there are accepted modes of thought, established research, and techniques of interpretation. Over-specializing in a field can cause you to become entrenched in these ways of thinking. As you move between disciplines, you become aware of your field in a new way. What is uniquely successful about your field? What is problematic? Many of the most innovative and revolutionary thinkers in history have had cross-discipline educations. They were able to innovate because they were used to drawing connections and being critical thinkers. They questioned the assumptions within their fields. A liberal arts education might lead you to question some of your personal assumptions, as you are exposed to a variety of ideas, some of which will undoubtedly challenge your old ways of thinking and help you to grow as a scholar and a person.

As you're building a college list and considering your future goals, don’t underestimate the value of liberal arts. Attending a liberal arts school offers you to the chance to open up new avenues of thought and to see the world in a different light. Consider weighing these benefits if you’re considering more technically-focused schools!

Schedule a free consultation

to find out how we can help you get accepted.