Deciding what to study in your late teens can be a daunting prospect. Asking young people to choose the life they want when theirs has only just begun, especially in a world as dynamic and fluid as it is today, can border on the impossible.
How can people be expected to know what direction they want to take their life from such a young age, when the direction of the global economy and society itself is constantly changing? You could spend years training to be a doctor, teacher or engineer only to find the job no longer exists due to evolving needs and disruptive technologies.
In this fast-paced environment, training for a niche role is futile. Instead, prospective students should be looking for an education that will give them a breadth of experience and help them tackle any issue and range of knowledge, enabling them to adapt to whatever life may throw beyond graduation.
A liberal arts degree is uniquely tailored to instil this diverse education in students, encouraging interdisciplinary growth across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities and languages.
Liberal arts students enjoy the benefit of possessing expertise in a range of fields, allowing them to appreciate the interdisciplinary layovers between subjects rather than seeing themselves as having one niche passion that must be fulfilled in their lifetime.
In fact, this ability to adapt interests and knowledge within a job is key to feeling happy and accomplished throughout adult life, according to psychologists at Stanford University and Yale-NUS College.
During an academic study, these psychologists found that students with an open mind to learning new things were more likely to adapt to the changing roles in their industry when compared to those who strongly identified as a techy or arty, rarely viewing tasks as beyond their self-created boundaries.
“Urging people to find their passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket but then to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry,” the report states.
By studying liberal arts, young people gain an education that doesn’t ask them to invest in one specific field, but instead urges them to spread their interests across the educational expanse of science, the arts and humanities to become well-rounded graduates with skills that can be applied to any industry.
In an average day as a liberal arts student, you could be studying trigonometry, ancient Egyptian culture, stem cell biology and behavioural psychology, as your degree focuses on the breadth and depth of knowledge, rather than making you an expert in one niche field.
This wide-reaching study pathway gives you the unique skillset needed to tackle the changing needs of the 21st century workplace, powered by the adaptable knowledge and interdisciplinary awareness that can drive any industry forward, no matter where your passions lie.
Explore these five leading liberal arts institutions…
Franklin University Switzerland (FUS), founded in 1969, is the only integrated liberal arts university in Switzerland that provides a unique international experience in a safe, supportive campus community.
The university boasts dual accreditation from the U.S.-based Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ) , meaning a degree from the college opens many doors both in the U.S., Switzerland and beyond. Given the interconnected and international nature of today’s economy, this will prove invaluable beyond graduation.
At FUS, undergraduate and postgraduate students have the chance to study a plethora of minors and majors in line with the liberal arts model, encouraging them to study multiple subjects and understand the connections between disciplines.
The University recently made Forbes’s list of Top US Colleges With Branches Overseas, putting students in a great place in the eyes of future employers. While Franklin has its roots in the U.S. and provides a U.S.-style of liberal arts education, it is actually an independent Swiss-American university, not a branch campus.
Blending rigorous academics with spiritual growth, Wheaton College is committed to producing ambitious students with a Christ-like mentality to guide them through life.
Students here are treated as unique individuals, granting everyone an education that recognises this. Whether this is through inspiring lectures, independent study, student-led seminars with leading academics, or one-on-one tuition on specific topics, Wheaton College offers a range of teaching methods to ensure each student reaches their potential.
Christianity is integrated into every aspect of life at Wheaton College, from socialising with each other through faith-based activities, to studying a Christian perspective through Bible Studies but also every other subject from theology all the way through to biology, business studies and languages.
This creates a strong sense of community among students and faculty, and although there is diversity among students, they all share a central belief in Christ.
Centre College is committed to providing a global education that connects students to the world outside their classroom.
With 85 percent of students taking part in a study abroad semester and even more completing internships during their studies, Centre College is focused on producing employment-ready graduates ready to take on the world.
“At Centre, we’re dedicated to delivering a personally tailored, globalized and real-world-ready education,” says John Roush, President of the college.
“So seriously dedicated that we make the following “Centre Commitment:” Students who meet the College’s academic and social expectations are guaranteed 1) an internship or an undergraduate research opportunity, 2) study abroad, and 3) graduation in four years.”
With over 1,900 students on campus, 17 percent of whom are studying internationally, Bard College provides the diverse backdrop needed to create a thriving liberal arts culture.
The college has been teaching liberal arts for over 150 years, making it an institution steeped in success, tradition and culture. Rest assured the curriculum taught at Bard has been perfected over the years to stimulate, enrich and educate students in a range of disciplines.
Students are encouraged to develop a ‘love of learning’ at Bard, allowing them to grow into lifelong learners with a hunger for curiosity and who thrives in the outside world.
The school offers a range of courses in the liberal arts, allowing students to flexibly curate a curriculum across 12 programmes and a further 12 disciplines, exploring all the fundamental elements of knowledge.
This prepares students to enter wider society equipped with broad knowledge relevant to diverse fields, ready to tackle whatever graduate life throws at them.
Students at Eckerd College are located in one of the world’s most stunning locations – Florida’s Gulf Coast in the US. This inspiring setting is ideal for opening student minds to the liberal arts.
This idyllic location inspires Eckerd College to prioritise the world beyond the classroom, believing higher education should encourage students to take responsibility through lifelong learning.
“An Eckerd education is not simply about getting a job when you graduate (though that’s important). It is a preparation for a lifetime of meaningful work and purposeful living, of intellectual, spiritual, and professional challenge and achievement,” says the President of Eckerd College.
As well as the liberal arts, Eckerd College offers other ways to excel, including scholars programmes, community engagement and social endeavours to continue improving the world, so students really make an impact from day one.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International
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