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9 Data-Backed Reasons to Get a Liberal Arts Education

Posted by Francesca Reed on 9/24/19 3:01 PM

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So, what is the real value of attending a liberal arts college? Let's not waste time; let's dive right in.

Liberal arts are the heart and soul of education. And even though subjects like philosophy, art, music, languages, and literature have been studied for thousands of years, it now seems like the liberal arts have taken a backseat to more “practical” fields such as science, math, business, and technology.

Despite a worldwide emphasis on STEM-saturated education, students who attend a liberal arts school gain an unparalleled education that uniquely prepares them for a successful career and a life of learning and fulfillment.

Applying to college can come with a lot of questions, but we're here to help you explore the several data-backed benefits of a liberal arts education. By the way, Marymount University is hosting two Campus Preview Day events — happening on Sunday, October 6 and Sunday, November 10.  


Click below to RSVP for Campus Preview Day!RSVP Today!


1. There are SO many careers available to graduates of a liberal arts school.

What kind of careers are open to hiring a graduate with a liberal arts degree, you ask? Well, the career options are endless for those who attend a liberal arts college. That's because a liberal arts school prioritizes interdisciplinary learning, which gives students the opportunity to thrive and nurture their skills through diversity of thought and experience.

Graduates of a liberal arts college can pursue careers as journalists, public relations specialists, writers, lawyers, politicians, communication experts, linguists, librarians, publishers, fundraisers, community health workers, marketing specialists, counselors, social justice advocates, real estate agents — and so many more.

Because a liberal arts education translates to many different careers, you also have the option of easily jumping into a new job if you’re ready to try something different. And as a college student (or as an aspiring one), you are probably excited at the notion of being able to change your mind down the road if you so desire!

2. A liberal arts degree will provide you with the soft skills employers want.

Companies and organizations have started to notice a troubling trend: Many of their employees are suddenly lacking soft skills. This means that while some candidates’ resumes may look impressive, they may not know how to collaborate with others, communicate in a team setting, offer creative solutions, challenge conventional thinking, or adapt and improve to changes in any given industry.

In fact, 44 percent of executives surveyed think Americans are lacking soft skills! A liberal arts education equips you with the soft skills you need to succeed in the professional world, giving you an edge in the job search.

3. A liberal arts school allows you to nurture your creative thinking and curious spirit.

Liberal arts programs sharpen your critical thinking skills and ignite a passion for lifelong learning. Let's look at an example of someone who pursued a degree rooted in liberal arts and went on to experience a lucrative and exciting career:

Jessica Kleiman, Senior Vice President at Peloton Interactive in New York, studied Communications in undergrad. Writing in Forbes, Kleiman credits her liberal arts education for a successful career:

“The classes I took — ranging from philosophy and sociology to cultural anthropology and, yes, even statistics … fueled my curiosity, strengthened my critical thinking and writing skills and made me knowledgeable on a variety of subjects. And my internships at a magazine, a PR firm, and a record company gave me the practical experience to pursue a career in writing and communications. I didn't feel I made a ‘mistake’ in choosing that path. In fact, I am now an executive vice president of communications at a media company — so I guess that degree came in handy."

So, take it from Kleiman, choose a college that is going to nurture your love for lifelong learning and creative thinking.

4. Employment outlook is positive for graduates of a liberal arts college.

It’s a common misconception that graduates of a liberal arts college will have little or no job prospects at graduation. Quite the opposite, actually: 80 percent of employers say all students should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts. Trendy job-specific majors often have a short shelf-life and “concrete business skills tend to expire in five years or so as technology and organizations change,” according to the Council of Independent Colleges.

A liberal arts education has stood the test of time, and employers look highly on that background, because skills like innovative thinking and problem-solving never expire!

5. A liberal arts education will grow your career long-term.

A liberal arts education not only opens doors for employment, it’s also a good predictor of future success.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems showed in a recent study that graduates with a liberal arts education (humanities or social sciences) earn more at their peak-earning ages compared to others who hold a professional or pre-professional degree.

6. Even with a liberal arts education, you aren't limited to non-STEM fields.

Even if you decide to pursue an undergraduate degree that's based in the liberal arts, this doesn't mean that you can never change your career direction and pursue a more STEM-related field.

For instance, that are several STEM-related graduate degrees that don't require you to have a related bachelor's: cybersecurity, information technology, data analytics, mathematics, physical therapy, nursing, and so many others! So, if you decide to pursue an education based in the liberal arts and then want to make a career shift later on, you can totally do that!

Also, fun fact: Did you know that many undergraduate students who pursue a sociology degree are actually choosing to enter the medical field?

7. With a liberal arts degree, you will learn to truly lead.

If you want to be a leader in your field, you should consider an education based in the liberal arts. Here are just a few of the leaders you’ve probably heard of who hold and undergraduate degree rooted in the liberal arts:

  • Michelle Obama, Attorney
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader
  • Ronald Reagan, Two-Term President of the United States
  • Diane Vaughan, Public Sociologist
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook 

True leaders need to know how to create, collaborate, innovate, and inspire. A liberal arts education prepares you to do just that, forming those critical skills that separate leaders from followers.

8. You’ll get personal fulfillment with a degree you are passionate about.

A background in the liberal arts goes beyond the professional realm. When you study the humanities or social sciences, you develop a passion for learning and carry it with you for the rest of your life.

Former Presidential Candidate and Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina majored in the liberal arts. Fiorina told Time Magazine:

“[My medieval history and philosophy degree] prepare me for life … I learned how to condense a whole lot of information down to the essence. That thought process has served me whole life I’m one of these people who believes we should be teaching people music, philosophy, history, art.”

9. Marymount offers more than 110 programs of study.

Because Marymount University offers more than 110 majors and programs of study, students have the opportunity to choose whatever degree that aligns with their passions and future goals. These programs are offered in four nationally and internationally recognized schools: 

  • School of Design, Arts, and Humanities
  • School of Business and Technology
  • School of Sciences, Mathematics, and Education
  • Malek School of Health Professions

Marymount is a community in which you will meet, live, and learn with the world. In fact, we’re number one in the region for global diversity, with students from 68 different countries. Six of every ten students on campus are African American or Hispanic or Asian or Native American — you get the point.

Marymount community 42 states and 68 countries

Forget the labels - just know that this learning community truly spans cultures, backgrounds, nations and religions. And what could be better preparation for tomorrow?

Are you ready to learn with purpose?

At Marymount University, you learn on purpose — with intimate classes and incredible personal attention. And you learn with purpose — taking advantage of the large classroom and performance lab of Washington D.C.

On top of that, you live with purpose by embracing a strong sense of service and an emphasis on ethics and values in a rapidly changing world.

Marymount offers big ideas, all the support you need and all the opportunities you want. An island of inspiration, a launching pad for careers and an ethical learning community, minutes from the center of everything.

RSVP for Campus Preview Day happening on October 6 and November 10 on Marymount's campus!

RSVP Today!

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Posted by Francesca Reed

Fran has been working in Enrollment Management for over 16 years. Fran currently serves as the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at Marymount University. In her free time, Fran enjoys traveling, watching her boys play sports, running and spending time with her family.

Topics: Undergraduate Majors & Programs, College Resources

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This blog is intended for high school and transfer students going through the college application process. From scholarship application tips to making the most of campus visits, we hope to give you the tools you need to pick the best institution for higher education — and make getting to that decision a little less stressful and a little more fun.

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