The increasing costs of college have many students concerned about the value and practicality of not only the degree they pursue, but the college they choose.
Recent surveys indicate that the state of the economy has a significant effect on the choices students and parents make about applying to and attending college.
At first glance, a liberal arts education may appear to be more expensive than your standard university’s price tag, but we would argue that choosing a liberal arts education is a better long-term investment.
5 Reasons to Pursue a Liberal Arts Education
A liberal arts degree is timeless
Many graduates in what some might consider more “practical” fields—computer science, information technology, nursing, or other tech-related fields—may find their skills outdated within 5 to 10 years.
Liberal arts students, however, acquire skills that have no expiration date. The ability to communicate both orally and in writing, the ability to think critically, adapt to change, and work with others are all skills that never go out fashion.
More “practical” or technical degrees often come with an expiration date, as their field of study quickly outpaces the static technical knowledge acquired during their four years in college. These graduates often find their skills outdated before they can find success and advancement in the workplace.
Employers value innovation
Liberal arts students acquire broad knowledge and talents through their diverse education in the arts. A liberal arts education values the contributions of other voices—even if they don’t fit preconceived notions of “how things are done.” Graduates with a liberal arts education excel at “thinking outside the box” because their strong background in critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and knowledge of the arts allows for more creative solutions and a deep capacity for new ideas.
Graduates with critical thinking skills are valued highly in the workplace
These skills are broadly acquired during a liberal arts education. According to a 2013 study by The Association of American Colleges and Universities, 93 percent of the employers surveyed desired candidates that “demonstrated the capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems.” Eighty percent of employers agree that, regardless of their major, every college student should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.
Better opportunities for advancement
Two out of three employers surveyed in the AACU study agree that college educated employees have the skills necessary to the workplace, but lack the skills to advance. Liberal arts students have a leg up on their practical degree counterparts. Graduates with a broad knowledge of global cultures, histories, religions, values, and social systems are comfortable working and communicating with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds.
A strong liberal arts education equips graduates with intercultural skills and ethics. Combined with strong oral and written skills, this favors liberal arts graduates for promotions. "Like the old Proverb says, "Chance favors the prepared mind.”
A liberal arts education teaches you how to learn
In a fast-paced and quickly changing global economy, a liberal arts education is prized. More than nine out of ten employers say it is important that new hires demonstrate the capacity for continued new learning. After all, real life and the workplace are not divided into majors. Hiring a graduate with a liberal arts education guarantees an employer that you are committed to lifelong learning. So, what are you waiting for?