Few students know exactly what they want to do after college. It might appear as if everyone knows; they have their class schedules organised perfectly, dividing their time between the extra-curricular activities they need to land their dream job, and their carefully selected minors and major. But in reality, many students are unsure when it comes to their future job.
Studying at a Liberal Arts College takes away some of that pressure while still gearing students up for the modern and forever-changing market. Due to the broad and unique nature of their studies, liberal arts students gain skills that can be applied to a multitude of professions.
A degree in liberal arts presents students with a diverse range of programs, which means that, rather than pigeonholing themselves into a set career, students are able to explore the ever-changing job market with the knowledge they can adapt and use to thrive in a range of roles.
In another survey of over 400 employers, researchers found that companies feel the applied skills learned at Liberal Arts Colleges “trump basic knowledge and skills, such as reading comprehension and mathematics” in terms of success in graduate careers.
CEO of Deutsch NY, Val DiFebo, told US News that a liberal arts education is arguably better than a specific career-ready degree.
“I find that liberal arts thinkers are the ones that try to problem solve and don’t just draw on experiences and skills from school,” DiFebo said.
And it’s not just creative industries interested in the liberal arts; many different sectors consider liberal arts graduates as invaluable to their companies. The Boston-based litigation consulting firm, Charles River Associates, told US News it “almost exclusively” hires graduates from these colleges because they possess the skills needed to adapt to a changing world.
You will find graduates at the forefront of countless different companies all over the world, free because they were not restricted by a degree that prevented them from exploring other avenues.
Here’s our pick of five of the best Liberal Arts Colleges in the United States…
With a history of nearly 190-years of excellence in liberal arts, Illinois College offers students an exceptional yet affordable education in a stunning location. With a population of just 1,000 students, here, you’ll never go unnoticed. Instead, there’s a large focus on the individual and the impact they have as they become part of the tight-knit community at IC.
The College believes in the development of character, allowing each student’s personality to shine in everything they do. Students are encouraged to branch out from in-class lessons by pursuing their hobbies or trying out as a volunteer. With a huge range of student activities to get involved in, plus around 11,000 hours of community service voluntarily undertaken year upon year, this college is the perfect place to develop your person in and outside of the classroom, preparing you to tackle any challenge that comes your way once you graduate.
What’s more, at Illinois College students will have the ability to tailor their educational experience to their specific needs – an education based on what employers expect to see in graduates. They will have the opportunity to build strong relationships with dedicated professors inside and outside of the classroom, guiding them throughout their years at IC and preparing them for their first job after graduation. Nearly 100% of IC’s alumni are employed or in a graduate program within one year of graduation. You’ll find IC graduates in positions across the globe in the fields of business, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), education, and beyond!
Located in the beautiful city of Claremont, about 35-miles from Los Angeles, overlooked by the San Gabriel Mountains – home to magnificent historic buildings and stunning tree-lined streets; Harvey Mudd stands proud.
The college is a residential campus, so well-loved that 99 percent of its students choose to remain on campus for all four years of their degree. It’s a buzzing social hub, with a majority of students opting to live and study in the same area.
The college understands that academic success can be optimized through direct work with students, ensuring that there remains a low student-to-faculty ratio, which currently stands at eight students to every one staff member. Faculty hold the highest degree possible in their respective fields, and so remain on-hand with a wealth of knowledge to share. Many have even been honored with national awards for their work.
Students often collaborate with faculty on many kinds of projects that have previously been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at professional conferences.
Colorado likes to do things a little differently: from its adventurous outlook to its ‘Block Plan’ class schedule, Colorado takes a unique approach to educating Liberal Arts students.
The college’s Block Plan enables participants to tackle one task at a time. Classes are held for three and a half weeks, and students can really get to grips with the subject which interests them most at that time. The intensity of classes means all professors know their students’ names and interests instead of them being another faceless number in a lecture hall.
And as for adventuring, students are awarded a ‘block break’ in which they are given four days to climb one of Colorado’s 54 peaks or explore the surrounding area’s forests, canyons and sand dunes. If students need to use the time to recharge their batteries, then a break to just relax is welcomed too.
Bard College, while based in New York, has campuses all over the United States and further afield in Russia and Germany. The college wishes to prepare students for a global job market in which they can realize their potential.
Bard takes a very individualized learning approach where each student gets to explore their passions in small group seminars. Here, learners discuss the philosophies of human existence, art, science, history, the environment, psychology and sociology – so long as they are engaging with the world and people around them. Seminars are structured to facilitate creative yet critical thinking, fostering an environment that stimulates and challenges students.
Bard faculty are passionate and active in their fields. They understand the need to exercise the mind in and outside of the classroom, encouraging students to find joy in both academia and wider campus life.
Gettysburg is dedicated to allowing students to explore the liberal arts in “all their breadth and depth.” Here, a collective of 2,600 students explore topics that spark excitement in their minds, supported by an extensive choice of almost 70 academic programs.
Students are pushed to become both thinkers and doers, with the college promoting leadership through vast opportunities in experiential learning.
The college resides in a cosy Pennsylvania town that bursts with history. An hour from Baltimore, 90-minutes to Washington DC and two hours from Philadelphia – Gettysburg has some of the US’ most exciting cities within arm’s reach.
Gettysburg delivers the academic facilities and career-prepping-success of a large institution with all the benefits of its small campus feel. Students are encouraged to become involved in university life outside of the classroom with the seemingly endless societies, activities and opportunities the college endlessly supplies.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International