Is a Liberal Arts College Right for You?

By Coach Sara   So, you’ve made the decision: you’re going to college. You start researching on your computer and discover that there are thousands to choose from. But how do you choose? Do you want a big school or a small one? One in your home state or a new location? A research university or a liberal arts college? Wait, what even is a liberal arts college?   “Liberal arts” is an educational concept that forms the foundation for many institutions of higher learning in the United States. Unlike a career training program that focuses on teaching you specific skills for a particular career, a liberal arts curriculum aims to educate students broadly. The basic philosophy maintains that requiring students to study all disciplines – rather than subjects related only to their career choice – creates well-rounded students able to see the connections among different subject areas.   Most four-year degree programs will contain general education courses across the curriculum, such as basic English, math, and science. So what does it mean for a school to specifically identify itself as a liberal arts college?   A research university pours its resources into furthering the research efforts of its faculty and students. As a result, undergraduate education can sometimes take a back seat to these research projects. A liberal arts college focuses its efforts specifically on the education of each undergraduate as a whole person. You’re a pre-med biology major or an engineering student? An aspiring astrophysicist? Great! Many liberal arts colleges will offer programs needed for those fields, but along the way, they’ll have you dabbling in the arts and humanities to give you a broader perspective on your field of study. Similarly, English, art, or business majors will take math and science courses to encourage them to take a cross-disciplinary approach to their fields as well.   A liberal arts college might be the right fit for you if you already have wide-ranging interests and don’t like the idea of getting pigeon-holed in one subject area. It might also be a good fit for you if you are unsure about your career choice. A liberal arts college will let you explore a wide variety of fields rather than locking you into a single career-track. Another advantage of a liberal arts education is that having a broader education can make you more nimble in an ever-changing job market. A graduate with a wider knowledge base can more easily shift into a new field or even a new position within the same company.   Picking the college that will be the right fit for you involves looking at many different aspects of what the college has to offer. However, at the end of the day, the main purpose of going to college is to get an education. It’s important to know that not all colleges will take the same approach to educating you. If a liberal arts college sounds like the kind of education you want, give your CAA coaches a call to discuss your options!