#CampusChat Q & A: The Value of a Liberal Arts Education


What is the value of a liberal arts education?

Last night on #CampusChat, Jeff Rickey, Vice President and Dean, Admissions and Financial Aid of St. Lawrence University, shared his insight on the liberal arts. Founded on April 3, 1856, St. Lawrence University is the oldest continuously co-educational institution of higher learning in New York State. A top-ranked liberal arts university, with an enrollment of more than 2,500 students, the focus at St. Lawrence is helping students realize their full potential as they prepare for life in a “complex and changing world.”

Other experts and alumni weighed in and shared their experiences with a liberal arts education and the benefits that translate in the marketplace.

In case you missed it, or had trouble keeping up (it was definitely lively), here’s the Q&A:

Q1 Exactly what is a liberal arts education? #CampusChat

A1 The term “#liberalarts” refers to studies that provide general & broad knowledge along with developing intellectual ability. #CampusChat
A1 You major in the field you wish, but take courses in other areas, too, to make you an educated and interesting person. #CampusChat

A1 You learn to think critically, present persuasively, write well, & contribute to your learning & the learning of others. #CampusChat

Q2 Can you explain the difference between a liberal arts education and a regular education? #CampusChat

A2 A regular education might qualify you for a certain job. A #liberalarts education qualifies you for a wide range of careers. #CampusChat

A2 Broad knowledge in the humanities, arts, and sciences equips you to do many things and studies show employers prefer it. #CampusChat

A2 Studies show today’s college graduates will have several careers. The #liberalarts prepare you well. #CampusChat

Q3 Do some deemphasize and discredit the liberal arts? If so, why? #CampusChat

A3 Yes, some think if you don’t prepare for a specific job, you aren’t prepared for the job market. That is incorrect. #CampusChat

A3  A #liberalarts education prepares you for many jobs, because many jobs require the outcomes of a liberal arts education. #CampusChat

Q4 Which top majors fall under the liberal arts? #CampusChat

A4 At @StLawrenceU the most popular majors are economics, biology, psychology, government, and mathematics. #CampusChat
A4 Other #liberalarts majors are in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, the arts, and interdisciplinary programs. #CampusChat

Q5 What are the top careers for liberal arts degrees? #CampusChat

A5 Our graduates hold positions in medicine, law, business, social services, the arts, and many other fields. #CampusChat

A5 Because of the breadth of their education, our grads are well trained to keep up with the needs & opportunities of society. #CampusChat
A5 A #liberalarts education prepares you for whatever comes along and makes you flexible, nimble, and adaptable. #CampusChat

Q6 What are the advantages of choosing a liberal arts college? #CampusChat

A6 You get to study, live, and play with others who are pursuing a broad education. #CampusChat

A6 You have a common experience that connects you with graduates in the past and graduates in the future. #CampusChat

A6 You are an interesting person who can converse about a number of subjects and think critically. #CampusChat

Q7 With all the emphasis on STEM today, what value is being placed on a liberal arts education? #CampusChat

A7 They do not need to be independent of one another. STEM students are welcomed at #liberalarts colleges. #CampusChat

A7 A STEM graduate who can write well, communicate convincingly, and think critically is in demand. #CampusChat

Q8 How can students pursuing technical careers add value with the liberal arts? #CampusChat

A8 By enrolling in #liberalarts courses, the STEM student can be a better and more interesting colleague. #CampusChat

A8 They might end up being the spokesperson for their company because of the high level of their communication skills. #CampusChat

Q9 Do employers value students who have a liberal arts education? #CampusChat

A9 According to the AACU, employers look to hire well-rounded employees. The #liberalarts produce them. http://bit.ly/1JNZit5 #CampusChat
A9 More than 9 in 10 employers want ethical judgment and integrity; intercultural skills; & the capacity for continued learning. #CampusChat

A9 More than 3/4 of employers want more critical thinking, complex problem solving, and better communication skills. #CampusChat

Q10 What should parents know about the value of a liberal arts education?  #CampusChat

A10 It is the most complete education! It prepares a student for the job market and for life! #CampusChat

A10 You will be amazed at how your student has changed – for the better! – when she or he makes their first trip home! #CampusChat

A10 If you are interested in learning more about the value of the #liberalarts, follow @SmartColleges. They are great! #CampusChat
For a detailed report of the chat and to read the entire transcript, click here.