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All Things Liberal Arts

Published on April 17, 2021

by On Point Education Advisory

An article published by  Inside Higher Ed  drew the spotlight on what employers are looking for when hiring college graduates.  AACU’s  employer survey results showed that in an ever-evolving global scenario, beyond domain knowledge, a candidate’s “broad skill base applicable across a variety of contexts” is a positive attribute. This ability to engage in critical thinking, apply information across domains, problem solves, develop strong written & spoken communication competence are some soft skills characteristic of a Liberal Arts education. Lindsey Ranstrom, an adjunct instructor at Southern New Hampshire University , called the core attributes of a liberal arts education the “4 Cs.” These are also some of the top skills that employers find adding value to their company.

What does a Liberal Arts education even mean?

The Liberal Arts is a greek approach to education focussed on developing skills essential for a “free person to take an active part in civic life.” It encourages students to gather knowledge about a wide range of subjects and seek solutions by drawing upon the different disciplines.

The purpose of a Liberal Arts education is to open the mind, correct it, to refine it, to enable it to know and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give its power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, and eloquent expression”, John Henry Newman.

What is a typical Liberal Arts College like?

Liberal Arts colleges distinguish themselves from the larger universities by providing a more student-centric and intimate learning environment. The students tend to find mentors in their professors who often can help them land internships and jobs.

  • Low teacher-to-student ratios 
  • Classes are usually taught by professors.
  • Seminars, not lectures, allow for greater student participation
  • Challenge students to think outside the box and stimulate innovation
  • Emphasize exposure to a broad range of subjects that may not be related to the major
  • Encourage integrated learning
  • Main focus on the undergraduate experience
  • Less emphasis on research 
  • Usually located in a small town or city
  • Limited or no greek life
  • Overall cost of tuition can be higher than a large public university or state school.

What can I study as a Liberal Arts Student?

Originally, the liberal arts comprised of the “quadrivium” (astronomy, mathematics, geometry, and music) and the “trivium” (rhetoric, grammar, and logic). Fast forward to the 21st century, traditional liberal arts colleges now offer subjects covering the Natural and Physical sciences, the Social Sciences, Mathematics, History, Philosophy, Language and Literature, and the Creative Arts. Some of these institutions have expanded their offerings to include Computer Science as well.

Liberal Arts Colleges in the US , UK , Europe , and India

The hallmark of US higher education is its emphasis on a liberal arts approach. Even students applying for a technical/professional course of study need to fulfill general core requirements by taking courses across disciplines. The liberal arts are gaining popularity across the UK, Europe, and Asia, with many colleges starting to offer this education plan.

Liberal Arts Colleges In India

Is Liberal Arts the right program of study for you? Reach out to On Point Education Advisory. We will help you discover a course of study that is the best fit for your learning style and long-term goals.