It’s a four-year investment, so you want to get the most out of your college experience. That’s why you should consider attending a school where your personal achievement is important to everyone there, not just to you personally.
Enter the liberal arts.
Here are a few ways that liberal arts colleges cater to their students with a truly student-focused approach:
1. Small classes
You’ll never be lost in the crowd at a liberal arts school. Small class sizes allow for deep discussion and thorough understanding for every student. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to share your own thoughts, as well as hear from your peers.
“Students know each other by name, since they eat, live, and socialize together as well as attend class … Classes emphasize conversation and debate, which help students interrogate for themselves the concepts and texts.” — Joy Castro, English professor, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana (Wabash Magazine)
2. Professors who know your name
Intimate class sizes also give you the opportunity to really know your professors. Nationwide, liberal arts colleges average 11 students per faculty member. Professors at liberal arts colleges aren’t just there to lecture for an hour and go home; they’re ready to answer your questions, look over your papers and recommend great reads.
But many liberal arts professors don’t stop there. You might grab a coffee with them over lunch, get in the habit of sending them articles they would appreciate or find yourself having dinner with their family. Liberal arts professors don’t just care about your academic welfare; they care about you.
“One of the most valuable aspects of liberal arts education, in my opinion, is the close connection you could establish with the professors. Sure, they could seem intimidating with their crazy educational backgrounds and sophisticated word usage skills, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting to know them. They are always there – willing to help, and get to know you.” — Kyungin Kim, Chinese and international political economy student, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington (Puget Sound Blogs)
3. A well-rounded education
A school’s liberal arts focus ensures you aren’t just an expert in one subject, but well versed in many topics. English majors and biochemistry majors find common ground at liberal arts institutions. With a liberal arts degree, you will be prepared to critically assess and engage the world. You will have the breadth of knowledge necessary to discuss and evaluate your ideas and philosophies. You will be challenged and challenge others. And your growth will last a lifetime.
“A liberal arts education prepares students for a changing world by equipping them with a broad set of analytical skills rather than a single focus.” — Julia Reynolds, humanities student, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Wake Forest)
Don’t get trapped by a books-only approach. At a liberal arts college, you’ll get hands-on experience in your field. Professors don’t expect you to have lots of credentials before you begin researching with them—they equip you with both the preparation and on-the-job training you’ll need to research well.
With undergraduate research experience, you will stand out on graduate school applications. You will attract employers and excel in jobs for which you already have the skills. Plus, will leave a mark on the scholarship of your school that will last long after you’ve graduated.
“The work with students in the lab has been the highlight for me … I always say that if you’re doing research at a liberal arts college, you have to involve students in your research. I consider the work that my students and I have done in the laboratory all these years to be a vital part of my teaching responsibility.” – John Ubels, biology professor, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Ready for this kind of education? Explore the best in liberal arts for yourself or your student at www.liberalartspower.org.
Gwyneth Findlay is a student of the liberal arts at Calvin College.