There are various types of higher education institutions in the US, including Universities, Technical Colleges, Community Colleges, and so on.
Among all, the liberal arts education offered in many US colleges and universities stand out the most. With a liberal arts education, students will be able to develop holistically by acquiring transferable skills that can be useful in any field or industry. They are taught not just to be part of the system but also to analyze the system, so that they can change and improve it.
Liberal Arts Education encourages students are encouraged to think independently and trained to learn from perspectives unlike their own. With such an appraoch, liberal arts colleges, which committs to providing liberal arts education to its students, becomes a pillar in the entire US education system.
The Arts and Sciences courses offered as part of the undergraduate curriculum are a comprehensive array of disciplines and fields that are meant to provide a holistic understanding of the world by introducing students to subjects that cover the arts, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, etc.
STEM programs aim to advance the world into the future through innovations and discoveries, whereas the liberal arts aim to identify and solve our society’s current problems. Climate change, artificial intelligence, public health, the gap between the rich and the poor, and international political tensions are just some of the complex issues we are facing today that require more than just technological know-how alone. A Liberal Arts Education brings forth a more globalized and comprehensive way of thinking in solving such problems.
Despite the clear benefits of getting a liberal arts education, many are still skeptical about whether it can help students prepare for direct employment after college.
However, if we look Payscale's Ranking of liberal arts colleges by graduates' mid-career earnings, we could see that there are strong employment prospects for liberal arts college graduates.
One of the biggest criticisms against liberal arts colleges is that their graduates do not make as much money as STEM graduates, especially in the first few years out of college. However, critical thinking and other skills developed at liberal arts colleges are valuable to many employers. As such, many graduates go on to earn very handsome salaries in the middle and late stages of their careers which is on par with MIT graduates who earn about $167,200.
In Payscale’s College Salary and College Return of Investment reports, Harvey Mudd consistently ranks high. Even though more than 80% of its graduates are from STEM fields, the general studies requirement of Harvey Mudd as a liberal arts college makes its graduates more appealing to employers.
The nation's top military schools, including the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, West Point, and the Air Force Academy, are also classified as liberal arts colleges for their comprehensive programs. Whether early or mid-career, their graduate earnings are on par with Princeton, Stanford, and Penn.
Many liberal arts colleges have numerous notable alumni. Even though only about 3% of college graduates in the United States came from liberal arts colleges, this group includes 19% of US presidents, many Pulitzer Prize winners, and 8% of the richest CEOs in the United States according to Forbes magazine.
Some of the country’s top liberal arts colleges include Colgate University, Swarthmore College, Williams College, Occidental College, Carleton College, and Pomona College. They not only offer amazing academic opportunities but they also prepare students for a successful career in the real world.
In the United States, there is no obvious difference between the acceptance rates of the top 30 liberal arts colleges and the top 30 universities. Liberal arts colleges are also quite popular among high school students in the US and China. As such, when planning for college applications, students are encouraged to take these colleges into consideration, and invest time and energy in determining which colleges are the best fit for them.