Picking a college without an idea of what you want to accomplish in life can be a significant decision for any person to make. You may be wondering what type of school would be the best fit for your future goals. A liberal arts college has its pros and cons, and this article may help you decide if it’s right for you.
Liberal arts colleges offer several individually created programs that prepare for diverse career paths. A regular college or university offers professional focus, job market preparation, hands-on experience, and graduate programs, whereas a liberal college doesn’t.
The remaining article will explore the pros and cons of a Liberal Arts College in more detail and give you more knowledge to decide which path is best for you.
The Pros of a Liberal Arts College Compared
Liberal arts colleges are well known for allowing students more freedom to explore different topics and educate themselves on a vast scale without the pressure of deciding on a degree.
Let’s explore a few of the pros of liberal arts colleges.
More Freedom and Personal Enrichment
If you haven’t yet decided what you would like to do for a career, then a liberal arts college gives you the freedom to explore the possibilities of the many topics you may take an interest in. A Liberal Arts degree gives you the skills to understand history, literature, writing, philosophy, creative arts, and much more.
A Liberal Arts College gives you the freedom of choice and a greater sense of personal enrichment. The class sizes are smaller and more individualized, whereas a university won’t allow the same privileges to pick and choose which classes intrigue you the most (source).
When someone is interested in a topic, the person will most likely study longer and work harder for that degree. A liberal arts college allows you the space to find what topic interests you the most without wasting time on changing degrees if you decide you don’t like your chosen major.
Preparation for a Variety of Career Paths
A Liberal Arts degree gives you a broad opportunity to study many different subjects. Because of this, you may gain an understanding of many career choices. You may decide that history is your main focus, but you’ll also gain knowledge in communications and writing.
If that becomes the case, then you can easily adjust to a different topic with ease.
Many people may not know that attending a liberal arts college gives the student a vast opportunity to explore many different paths to success. It may not be easy for a brand new student to decide where to focus.
Because of that, a liberal arts college gives the student ways to gain a vast amount of knowledge without disrupting a major.
Another great concept of studying at a liberal arts college is that after you attend, you’ll have many skills that you can place on a resume. For example, if you took a course in communications, you could select that as the primary focus for a job application (source).
It can be daunting to decide which path to choose from, so if you aren’t ready or aren’t sure where to focus, a liberal arts college may be the right choice for you.
Creation of Individual Classes
Liberal arts colleges give students the freedom to choose which studies would better benefit them and their future goals. Because of that, liberal arts colleges allow students to create their curriculum to educate themselves better on which direction to go in.
Designing your major takes effort, and not all colleges allow this. Universities usually stick to the core curriculum and do not allow students to take classes outside their major.
That can be a downfall to attending a regular college if you want to design your education.
You may be able to pick and choose which classes, electives, or topics to study that match your interest, future goals, or intended major. Some universities allow students to design their own major if what they choose isn’t listed at their college.
That may be risky, but it’s worth it if you’re passionate about an unlisted subject.
Liberal arts colleges focus solely on undergraduate programs. You may not obtain a master’s in Liberal Arts, but you can attend a liberal arts college and get a general degree or an undergraduate degree in your chosen field.
It may be confusing for new students to understand the differences between a core curriculum and that of a Liberal Arts curriculum. Do your research before deciding which college would best fit you and your situation.
One great advantage of attending a liberal arts college is that once you‘ve decided on a subject you want to study and know exactly what you want out of your education, you may transfer from a liberal arts college to a regular university.
That’s an excellent step in the right direction if you have decided on a major.
Studies suggest that 30% of students transfer schools before obtaining their degree. It’s common to transfer, and liberal arts colleges give students such a vast amount of knowledge before a transfer occurs that it can make the transition from one college to the next easier and go more smoothly (source).
After attending a liberal arts college, you don’t have to finish your time there if you’ve decided on your major. You may transfer to a preferred university that offers more professional and career training in your chosen field.
Development of Professional Skills
Due to liberal colleges offering such a vast volume of topics and subjects, developing professional skills for future jobs or studies can be an excellent way to enter the workforce.
Many employers prefer a liberal arts education before entering the workforce because they help students develop critical thinking, communication, and creative problem-solving skills. That can be a fantastic asset to any professional team (source).
Unemployment is on the rise due to many reasons. However, obtaining these crucial life skills will give you a greater chance of employment after you get a degree.
Many employers look and seek out these types of skills when searching for employees.
The Cons of a Liberal Arts College Compared
Now that we’ve talked about why liberal arts colleges may be a good choice for you, there are some cons to attending a liberal arts school. It’s always best to decide for yourself which option is best for you and your circumstances.
No Career Focus
Liberal arts colleges have a vast amount of subjects, but there’s no professional focus.
You can’t choose one particular subject and decide that you will major in that topic alone. If you already have an idea of what you want out of your educational career, attending a liberal arts college may not be the best fit.
If you want to focus on a major and want a more strict and hands-on experience, then a liberal arts school may not be your first choice. These colleges don’t provide much direction and long-term career advice for their students (source).
If you do want a Liberal Arts degree, you may still obtain one at a regular university if you’re solely interested in humanities as a whole. However, if you already know and feel that a particular major is best for you and your future goals, then picking a liberal arts college is probably not for you.
No Job Market Preparation
It may also not be the best choice if you already have a career in mind for your future goals. Liberal arts colleges don’t prepare you for the job market.
Many students find themselves unemployed and lost after completing their undergraduate degree from a liberal arts school. They also make less money than a student who graduates from a regular college.
If you’re concerned about your future employment status and aren’t willing to take the risk of less career preparation for your future, then a liberal arts college may not be the best fit for you.
Because they don’t offer extended programs that aid you in career preparation, you may not get the vast amount of experience needed for your desired career field. In one way, liberal arts colleges allow freedom to expand your skills, but in many cases, they don’t offer the experience you need to obtain the career of your choice.
Less Direction and Less Hands-on Skills
Not only will a liberal arts college not prepare you for a career and steady employment, but they also don’t guide you or offer any hands-on programs. You won’t get any aid to assist you in employment later on down the line.
Liberal arts colleges don’t offer any programs that give you experience regarding a career.
You may gain skills, but learning by example isn’t an option. If you want job experience before venturing out into the workforce, attending a regular college may be the better option for you and your situation.
Many regular colleges offer programs to experience your career before you graduate.
You may be given an internship or work as a student in the field you consider joining. However, a liberal arts college won’t show you the chances a regular college would grant you.
No Graduate Programs
Another downfall of attending a liberal arts college is that there are no graduate programs. You may get an undergraduate degree, but there are no programs for higher education.
If you choose to study at a liberal arts college, you won’t advance any further than what’s offered at the school. If you want to obtain a higher degree, then transferring your credits to another university may be the better choice for you.
At a regular university, you’ll be given the opportunities to advance as far as you choose to.
If you want a master’s degree in a major, you may stay at the same college throughout your academic career. However, if you decide to go to a liberal arts college, if you want to advance, you’ll have to transfer after a certain point.
Liberal Arts College and Regular University Compared
A liberal arts college and a regular college will provide you with a better level of education than you would get if you didn’t attend either.
With that said, deciding which college is best for you is crucial to your future.
A liberal arts college will give you more freedom to learn and explore what interests you and what you like and don’t like. It’ll provide you with the skills you need for future employment, such as communication, problem-solving skills, and a vast understanding of who you are as a person.
You also may enjoy the carefree studies of a liberal arts college. However, they aren’t taken as seriously as a regular college is. You may not be handed the same opportunities as a traditional college attendee would.
That’s not to say that a Liberal Arts degree doesn’t have its advantages.
If you’re still trying to figure out what you want to be in life, there are many great options to pick when attending a liberal arts school. It’s common for new students to begin their academic career at a liberal arts school and transfer once they decide what they like and dislike.
Don’t feel discouraged if you decide that a liberal arts school is best for you right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. It’s a great option to choose before settling on a major at a regular college.
Whether you choose a liberal arts college or a traditional university, you’ll learn a vast amount of knowledge and life skills that’ll help you once you graduate and pick the career that is best suited for you and your experience, knowledge, and understanding.