Choosing a College: The Top Benefits of Attending a Liberal Arts College 1

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Are you trying to decide on a college to attend? If so, check out this guide to learn the top benefits of attending a liberal arts college.

While liberal arts colleges offer a special kind of education, they’re not always available to all students. However, an increasing number of schools are offering merit-based scholarships and help for low-income students. That’s because they know the value of having a broad range of voices in every classroom.

Here are just a few benefits of going to a liberal arts college.

Get Direct Access To Your Mentors
When you go to a large university, you get to choose which school you want to work in but navigating them can be overwhelming. When you finally decide where you want to be and who you want to study with, you might be surprised to find most of the courses are taught by TAs. Accessing the professors you want to work with or get information from can be hard.

Liberal arts colleges are designed to be smaller and offer you direct access to the most experienced professors. Class sizes are small, meaning you don’t have to schedule office hours months in advance. With each course taught by a professor, they’ll spend more quality time with you.
It’s vital to have a close evaluation and critique from the people who you respect and admire. You get that kind of attentive relationship in a liberal arts college much more often than in a large university.

Smaller Class Sizes
When comparing the class sizes in universities versus the class sizes in liberal arts colleges, the differences can be stark. In large universities, you find that class sizes can go well into the hundreds easily. It’s hard not to feel like just another face in the crowd.
However, smaller classes help students work together and learn from one another. Rather than a one-directional lecture format, you’ll end up in more discussion groups where you get the chance to talk in detail about the things you’re learning. This encourages more participation and more investment than you find in large lecture halls.

If you’re struggling with the material in a large university, you’ll have to schedule a meeting with the professor or a TA. In a smaller class, your questions can be addressed so that everyone can keep up with what’s happening in the class.

Liberal Arts Breeds Critical Thinkers
In the aforementioned large lecture classes, the focus is on introducing students to the material, getting them to memorize it, and getting them to pass the test. While the professor may have worked hard or even written the textbook to help students understand the material better, the formula is always the same.

In these courses, information is told to students and they’re meant to take it in and add it to their knowledge about a subject.
However, liberal arts classes work differently. Sometimes the point of the class is to talk about the intersection of the course’s subject and a point in history or cultural moment. Different classroom discussions are had every week and the concepts are taken apart from different perspectives.
When students get the chance to lead the discussion or communicate their unique thoughts and ideas, they’re more invested. This critical thinking contributes to the classroom as a community.

A More Well-Rounded Education

Liberal arts colleges want to create more than just proteges for their top professors. They want people who can innovate, disrupt, and change the world by approaching the world’s problems differently.

While academic programs at a typical university have a regimented track with the same requirements for everyone, liberal arts schools work differently. In these schools, students explore a variety of subjects, often in combination with one another.

Students at liberal arts colleges will be prepared for a variety of career paths versus a specific type of education.
Liberal arts colleges give students more freedom with studies than universities. This allows students to create and innovate new approaches to subjects that a university might limit.

Liberal Arts Students are Ready For Grad School

Graduate school is often more self-directed and open than a typical university track education. If a student has successfully completed work at a liberal arts school, they’ll be able to handle the graduate-level work ahead of them.

Many graduate programs hand select students who will enrich one another. They fill each class with students who have a different approach to the material. Adding students from a liberal arts school ensures that their courses will have plenty of class participation, critical thinking, and high-quality writing.

To determine which schools are best for each industry, look at the rankings of liberal arts colleges.

Employers Celebrate Liberal Arts

While there was a prejudice against liberal arts students, more and more of them are being sought out by the top employers in the country. Especially in the tech industry, liberal arts graduates are highly valued.

Because of that intimate relationship between students and professors, employers know that students will be comfortable communicating. That makes feedback, analysis, and teamwork much easier for employers who need their staff to mesh well.

An increasing number of companies that are looking for innovators, seek out liberal arts graduates. They don’t want people who have successfully memorized the material to help them complete a day of work. They want people who will solve problems in new ways and introduce new approaches to everyday tasks.

Going to a Liberal Arts College is a Smart Investment
While some schools have a prestigious name and a storied history behind them, liberal arts schools look toward the future. Attending a liberal arts college is an investment in the future of each student. With the broad perspective, they’ll leave with, they’re sure to enter the workforce with a better range of knowledge than most other students.

To ensure you get the most out of going to a liberal arts college, check out our guide to preparing for college.