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 major in a liberal arts field gain an unparalleled education that uniquely prepares them for their 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 practical and surprising benefits of a liberal arts education.
1. A variety of careers are available to you with a liberal arts degree.
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 with liberal arts degrees. Journalists, public relations specialists, writers, lawyers, politicians, communication experts, linguists, librarians, publishers, fundraisers, community health workers, marketing specialists, 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. So, while some candidates’ resumes may look impressive, they may not know how to collaborate with others, communicate in a team setting, or offer creative solutions.
In fact, 44 percent of executives surveyed think Americans are lacking soft skills! A liberal arts education equips with the soft skills you need to succeed in the professional world, giving you an edge in the job search.
3. A liberal arts major helps you to become a curious, critical thinker.
Liberal arts programs sharpen your critical thinking skills and ignite a passion for lifelong learning.
Jessica Kleiman, Executive Vice President at SANDOW, studied Communication and English 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."
4. Employment rates are looking good for liberal arts majors.
It’s a common misconception that liberal arts majors will have zero 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 critical thinking and problem-solving never expire!
5. A liberal arts program may help 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 graduate degrees that don't require you to have a related bachelor's: cybersecurity, information technology, health care management, business administration, human resource management, data analytics, mathematics, physical therapy, nursing, and so many others!
7. With a liberal arts degree, you can lead when others follow.
If you want to be a leader, you should consider a major in the liberal arts. Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Sheryl Sandberg are just a few of the leaders you’ve probably heard of who hold undergraduate liberal arts degrees. 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] … did 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.”
Are you ready to learn with purpose?
As a college grounded in the liberal arts, Marymount University is proud to promote career preparation and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth. Similarly, at Marymount, there are benefits for transfer students pursuing the liberal arts. MU's liberal arts degree is geared toward transfer students and endeavors to maximize transfer credits. MU's liberal arts degree also gives transfer students the opportunity to choose multiple concentrations instead of majors, which allows students to graduate on time.
Marymount also prides itself on providing an undergraduate education that is applicable to the workplace. Marymount is dedicated to student-centered learning and to the intellectual, ethical, and spiritual development of each individual. And if you aren't sure yet what field of study you want to pursue, Marymount is happy to be the college where you eventually figure that out!
Marymount's Tip: If you want some more reasons to consider why you should think about pursuing a liberal arts degree, check out our blog post from last year!