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Article 51: What’s a Liberal Arts College? Should You Attend One?

Perhaps you have seen the term “liberal arts school” in your college searches without having a proper understanding of its meaning. What is the definition of a liberal arts college and its difference from other Institutions of Higher Learning?

It’s seldom to obtain a direct straight response when defining a liberal arts college. In this post, I’ll determine liberal arts before explaining the meaning of getting a liberal arts education. I will additionally discuss the colleges are distinct from non-liberal arts schools and the effect on your educational experience.

What Are The Liberal Arts?

To get a right understanding of the beginnings of the liberal arts, we look back to the days of classical antiquity, primeval Greece in its peak. To most classical philosophers who believed specific essential knowledge was foreseeable among active liberal citizens, involvement in civil was vital. In early times, liberal arts comprised arithmetic, grammar, logic, astronomy, geometry, rhetoric, and music. The “liberal” in liberal arts is distinct of political liberalism, and all things concerning earliest Latin roots of the words: Artes liberales interpreted as subjects of the free person.

Present day understanding of liberal arts has, expectedly, transformed from the ancient philosophers’. Liberal arts today refers to a wide range of specialties: literature, math, philosophy, languages, sciences, and history. However Liberal arts does not include any technical, professional or vocational studies.

What Is A Liberal Arts Education?

After the mini-history lesson, let’s delve into the modern meaning of liberal arts education.

Various cultures often have distinctive twists on what offering liberal arts education means. Generally, a liberal arts education focuses on churning out well-versed individuals. American institutions which provide liberal arts training may purpose to yield “global citizens”: persons adequately equipped to engage ethically in an informed manner in the world around them.

One might consider the chief objective of a liberal arts education to be teaching students to become critical thinkers. To efficiently analyze and interpret the fresh information they come across while navigating their environs. The programs are seemingly flexible by way of pursuing multiple career paths in post-graduation.

Attending a liberal arts program may qualify you to have a liberal arts degree. Psychology, philosophy, languages and literature, cultural studies, biology and life sciences are examples of liberal arts degrees programs.

What Is Not A Liberal Arts Education?

You won’t receive a liberal arts degree in a technical, vocational or professional program. The purpose of such programs is educating students in preparing for particular careers implying the existence of a clear-cut professional end goal. Thus the programs are career-oriented.

Some of the non-liberal arts educations are engineering programs, law school, architecture programs and medical school.

What Is A Liberal Arts College?

In tandem with my earlier allusion in the introduction, a liberal arts college lacks a standardized or set definition. However, the general view is that educational institutions which accentuate undergraduate studies (different from delivering research) and award have more than 50% degrees in the liberal arts disciplines of study. Scholars commonly select a single course of study to focus on and additionally enroll for classes in other diverse specialties. See our post above on liberal arts colleges for examples.

Liberal arts colleges like Southern New Hampshire University seem to foster their learners in studying an extensive array of disciplines rather than solely focusing on a single field of study. The institutions encourage their students differently-there are a handful of various paths which liberal arts colleges may consider:

Distribution Requirements – These are study plans which make it a prerequisite for students to pursue courses in multiple disciplines without dictating precisely the specific directions a student must continue for them to graduate. For instance, Williams College students must enroll for classes in three varying “divisions” apart from complying with the obligations of their majors: Social Studies, Science and Mathematics and Languages and the Arts.

Open Curriculums – They imply that scholars have no obligation in meeting any course requirements (whether specific courses, distribution requirements or mandatory courses) for them to graduate. The students have the freedom to pick any available courses provided they meet the prerequisites for major of choice. Southern New Hampshire University offers such one good example of an open curriculum.