There seems to be quite a bit of misinformation floating around about the value of a liberal arts education. More often than not, students who wish to enroll in a liberal arts college are met with pessimistic comments like "Your degree won't work in this economy", or "You'll end up with too much debt and no job after graduation." In some corners, the liberal arts have gotten a pretty bad rap - but why?
In reality, liberal arts education is thriving. Across the country, liberal arts programs are providing students of all backgrounds with a path to a richer life and diverse career options. Graduates possess a range of advanced skills including the ability to problem solve and think critically, effectively communicate with others, collaborate with a team, and continue on learning long after they’ve left the classroom.
Join us as we debunk some of the biggest myths about liberal arts education and show why these degree programs are more relevant than ever.
Myth #1: A Liberal Arts Education Isn't Practical
One of the biggest misconceptions about studying at small liberal arts colleges is the notion that graduates won't find jobs once they enter the 'real world’ workforce. This notion appears to be founded on the assumption that an education in liberal arts denies students the opportunity to pursue careers in technology, business or science.
The truth is, liberal arts institutions offer programs that promote analysis and problem-solving across many disciplines including math, chemistry and biology. Unlike training in a specific technology which may become obsolete by the time of graduation, these liberal arts skills are evergreen - they teach students how to adapt to change and evolve alongside new ideas.
Myth #2: Small Liberal Arts Colleges are Only for Wealthy People
Another common myth is that liberal arts colleges are only for the wealthy elite. Because of this misconception, many students and their families believe that a liberal arts education is just too expensive an investment.
It’s true that cost is a valid concern for many applicants. Some students have to leave their home town to attend a great books college and the cost of tuition, meal plans and residence fees can be overwhelming.
However, what many students don’t know is that while the cost of tuition keeps increasing across all types of colleges and universities, many liberal arts schools have managed to remain affordable - and accessible to students from diverse economical backgrounds. Small liberal arts colleges offer a variety of student aid, and enroll a slightly higher percentage of low-income and under-represented students than most major public universities.
Myth #3: Liberal Arts Programs are no Different than other Degrees
Many people believe that liberal arts colleges offer an experience that can be found in any undergraduate program - but this couldn't be farther from the truth. The truth is, a liberal arts education offers a completely unique and rewarding experience. Studies show that liberal arts graduates report nearly double the satisfaction with their college experience than those in most mainstream majors.
Small classrooms offer close, personal interaction with fellow students and dedicated faculty members. The continuous exchange of ideas and lively debate encourage independent thought, quick thinking, creativity, and respect for diverging viewpoints. In our increasingly communication-centered, globalized world, these are skills employers value highly - and the hallmarks of our future leaders!
Are you considering attending a liberal arts college in Chicago? What are some myths you’ve come up against during your decision-making process?