What do you need from your college education? A precise field of study that focuses on a specific career path? Or the broader, liberal arts education you can apply to multiple career paths, the kind you can obtain from a liberal arts college like St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico?
Unless you have a crystal ball, neither you nor anyone else can see what will happen in 20 years or what careers will emerge in the future. Think about your cell phone. Forty years ago, the slim, hand-held device you take for granted didn’t exist. Now, 7 billion people — more than 91 percent of humankind — own cell phones. Who would have guessed? The choice of college you make today will have a lasting impact on the rest of your life.
So, why choose a liberal arts college?
A liberal arts education typically exposes students to humanities, the arts, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. It’s a comprehensive approach to education, rather than teaching a specific field — like electronics engineering. Liberal arts focuses on critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving, and effective communication across multiple subjects, fostering a holistic understanding of complex issues. It prepares you for a variety of career paths versus a single path.
Everything revolves around the student experience
Most liberal arts colleges only have undergraduate programs. Large universities devote a lot of time and resources to graduate students and research. At liberal arts schools, the primary focus of faculty is student learning, not their own research and advancement. Professors have more time to spend with students, getting to know them, critiquing their work, and serving as mentors.
Smaller class size encourages student participation, rather than just listening to a professor lecture. In active classroom discussions, students have the opportunity to hear different perspectives, present meaningful ideas, and contribute to the class’s general understanding of the topic.
Outside the classroom
Many students find a lot more camaraderie at liberal arts colleges, especially during freshman year. The reason’s simple: smaller student populations. That alone makes it easier to meet others and form lasting friendships. And while liberal arts communities are smaller, they afford students more opportunities to develop leadership skills in campus organizations and activities.
Liberal arts prepare students for grad school
More liberal arts college graduates attend graduate school than other students. Because of the interdisciplinary approach to liberal arts education, most students are better prepared to obtain advanced degrees. They can match the broad-based education they received at the liberal arts college with a more specific advanced degree, helping tailor and hone skills.
Employers favor liberal arts grads
Studies show people change jobs more frequently than in the past. A liberal arts background helps graduates to be adaptable, flexible, and better equipped to handle shifts in the job market or career changes. Most employers say they want people with a broad knowledge base who can work as team members to think critically, discuss, debate, and solve problems — all skills you learn from a liberal arts program. In fact, employers are more frequently hiring more liberal arts majors because of these skills.
Graduating from a liberal arts college, like St. John’s College, you’ll find career opportunities abound, including college-funded internships that lead to satisfying, rewarding careers in design, communications, law, education, technology, scientific research, social work, public policy, and more. You’ll be empowered to design your own future in a dynamic, rapidly changing society.
Story by Bud Russo