Student-centric advice and objective recommendations
Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.
Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.
What Are the Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education?
If you are exploring higher education options, you may be wondering what the benefits of a liberal arts education are. The quick answer is that a liberal arts education curriculum allows students to explore various subjects rather than preparing for a specific career. If this type of degree sounds interesting, keep reading to learn more about the benefits of a liberal arts education!
What is a liberal arts education vs. a liberal arts college?
A liberal arts education focuses mainly on arts, sciences, humanities, and social sciences. A liberal arts education is usually found at smaller liberal arts colleges, but some large universities have smaller programs that offer a liberal arts curriculum. Larger universities are better known for preparing students for a particular career in a specific subject. Meanwhile, a liberal arts college encourages students to find an appreciation of (and connection between) all subjects. A liberal arts curriculum is designed to be very flexible and encourages students to try out different subjects before declaring their major.
Many liberal arts colleges are defined by the following characteristics:
- Small student population
- High number of residential students
- Intimate feel of small classes
- Heavy focus on academics
Read more: What is a liberal arts degree?
The benefits of a liberal arts education
Interdisciplinary approach to learning
A liberal arts education focuses on exposing students to a wide array of subjects. For example, math majors will take art classes and pre-med majors will take sociology classes. This type of broad education helps prepare students to succeed in whatever career path they choose.
Opportunities to pursue a variety of career options
The exploratory nature of a liberal arts education allows students to discover what subjects they do and do not like. As students grow and evolve during their four years of college, they may learn that their original future plans are not something they wish to pursue long term. Luckily, a liberal arts education is the perfect way to explore subjects and find true passion. In addition, a liberal arts education allows students to keep their career options open because they will learn transferable skills rather than one specific skill set.
Many liberal arts colleges are small institutions, especially when compared to public universities. Having a small size allows students to create a more intimate and close-knit environment to thrive in. In addition, small class sizes can help create a more hands-on, personalized learning environment for students.
Learn critical skills
A liberal arts education strives to teach students important problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The goal is to teach students “how” to think, not what to think. Meaning, rather than memorizing facts, students learn to examine, think, and connect ideas. The skills learned in a liberal arts education can help students outside of the classroom as they navigate the real world.
Strong alumni presence
Due to the smaller size of most liberal arts colleges, they tend to have very involved alumni. This allows current students to connect and have mentoring opportunities with alumni. In turn, students learn through example about what can be accomplished with a liberal arts education.
The smaller class sizes at liberal arts colleges and programs lead to a more interactive and engaging learning environment. A low student to faculty ratio often fosters deeper classroom connections and learning to occur.
Liberal arts degree graduates learn broad skills that are valued by employers. For example, critical thinking, communication, and an open mind are just a few of the attributes that liberal arts education students are known for.
Related: How to land a job after college
What can you do with a liberal arts degree?
You can ultimately pursue whatever field you want after you receive a liberal arts degree. However, some common careers include:
- Advertising manager
- Social worker
- Business analyst
- Public relations specialist
Related: How to choose a college
Is a liberal arts education worth it?
Ultimately, it is completely dependent upon you. Students have to figure out if the exploratory curriculum of a liberal arts college will best suit their needs. If you are going to college strictly as a way to land a specialized and/or higher-paying job, a liberal arts education may not be what you’re looking for. But if you hope to broaden your educational horizons and combine academic disciplines to reach a greater understanding of the world, it is probably a great fit.
No matter what educational path you take, paying for tuition will likely be a factor. Luckily, you can use our handy dandy free scholarship search tool to help you fund your education.
Also see: Is college worth it?