Seems like the liberal arts have been getting a bad rap. As the cost of college has skyrocketed, a formal education is seen more as an investment, something that must pay off financially. Hence the focus on STEM and other fields that students and their parents expect to guarantee high salaries.
A liberal arts education teaches a student to be a well-rounded intellectual, yes, but can it serve as the launch pad for a high-paying career? One study presented to the Council of Independent Colleges says “absolutely.”
It’s also helpful to keep in mind that the highest ranked universities in the US offer a “liberal arts” education. Most of the Ivy League universities do not offer preprofessional degrees (though admittedly economics tends to be the most popular major at all these schools). Other top-rated universities, including the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, and Vanderbilt award primarily “liberal arts” degrees. Even the ranking public, flagship universities like University of California-Berkeley, University of Virginia, and the University of Michigan award large numbers of “liberal arts” degrees.
For those who might have trouble getting into the top tier schools above (or for families seeking a relative bargain among liberal arts colleges), a number of fantastic options are worthy of consideration. For example, have a look at the Colleges That Change Lives, a loose consortium of 42 high quality liberal arts schools, including Beloit College, Eckerd College, University of Puget Sound and many others.
Read more about this study that indicates that the liberal arts are, in fact, a gateway to financial prosperity for many students here.
Educational consultant and admissions expert