By Juaquin, IvyWise College Admissions Counselor
Determining what type of college is best for you is essential to your personal and professional self-development and requires thoughtful self-reflection. As the cost to attend college continues to climb, parents are wondering if a liberal arts education is still valuable. I can assure you; it is.
Should Gen Z Pursue a Liberal Arts Education?
The traditional concept of sticking to one profession and company to climb the career ladder has changed. Gen Zers seek more flexibility in their careers to have more control over their schedules and earning capabilities. Data shows that Gen Z could change jobs up to 10 times between the ages of 18 and 34. This requires an ability to navigate complex dynamics and think critically across multiple variables to problem solve and find solutions.
This approach to a career path makes a liberal arts education more valuable than ever. Most high school seniors do not know their long-term career goals, and it is not uncommon for a student undecided on their college major to pursue a liberal arts education for their undergraduate studies.
Why a Liberal Arts Education is Valuable
A liberal arts education gives you a comprehensive overview of different academic disciplines, including history, literature, natural sciences, social sciences, mathematics, arts, and communications. This approach gives you a well-rounded and balanced education, as opposed to a degree that focuses on only one subject or profession.
This means you are not restricted and you are free to develop strong and transferable intellectual skills you can apply in a real-world setting, including oral and written communication, analytical skills, and problem-solving. In addition to this practical capacity, a liberal arts education also helps you develop a strong sense of social responsibility.
A Sense of Community
Liberal arts colleges are often private and can provide a strong sense of community. This environment tends to foster common interests and create a deep sense of belonging that allows for an enriching learning experience inside and outside of the classroom. A tight-knit learning community often improves the overall undergraduate experience and can lead to friendships and connections that last a lifetime.
Smaller Class Sizes
In addition to cultivating relationships, liberal arts colleges offer a range of degree programs that focus on undergraduate students. Many universities prioritize graduate and terminal degree students and often have larger lecture-style classes for undergraduates taught by teaching assistants instead of full-time professors. The quality of learning at liberal arts schools is first-rate due to small class sizes, community engagement, and the emphasis on undergraduate instruction.
Many classes for undergraduate students in large public research universities have hundreds of students, whereas most liberal arts colleges offer smaller class sizes and a better student-teacher ratio. Because of this, you may find it easier to book appointments to see professors during their office hours.
More Face-Time with Professors
In a more intimate campus community, you can get to know your professors more informally. You see them in the dining hall during lunch and may be invited to a professor’s house for dinner. This allows you the opportunity to get to know your instructors on an individual and personal level. Professors at liberal arts schools often know their students on a first-name basis and take a vested interest in their education and long-term development.
The strong connection you make with your professors helps you receive a higher level of academic comprehension and personal mentorship. Because of these close relationships, you can also secure internships and personalized letters of recommendation that can improve your opportunities in higher learning and future careers.
Outside the classroom, liberal arts schools offer a variety of choices for community engagement, including activities and athletic teams. You can earn leadership roles in clubs or on a team because of the smaller student population and secure other opportunities outside the campus community.
Relationships with support services can lead to more civic engagement opportunities. This gives you the chance to focus on solving community issues by volunteering with a non-profit or making an impact through advocacy and policy work with local politicians. Liberal arts schools are well known for their civic engagement and social justice support.
How a Liberal Arts Education Prepares You for a Career
A liberal arts education promotes a person’s ability to analyze facts and synthesize information. The curriculum places an emphasis on the creative and critical thinking that are crucial in the job market. The holistic intellectual and personal development you can experience at a liberal arts school helps you develop life skills to successfully adapt to our ever-changing, diverse world. Liberal arts schools also support you in developing lifelong relationships. They are worth their return on investment and are more relevant than ever with this generation.
Is a liberal arts school right for you? At IvyWise, we work with students to determine which schools will help them thrive. Contact us today to learn more about our admissions counseling services and how we can assist you with every step of your college admissions journey.