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The Top Liberal Arts Colleges

Attending a Liberal Arts College

Many of the first colleges in the United States were small institutions that were affiliated with religious institutions. These colleges were based on models in Europe and seemed to translate well to this setting. A shift began to happen in study as the call for more and more science and technology happened.


In the mid 1800's, many Americans were receiving their doctorate degrees from Germany. When these degree holders returned they also brought with them a different understanding of what it meant to receive your education. This is where the idea of the liberal arts colleges experience began.

While some colleges were turning into larger institutes that focused on research, liberal arts colleges held on to their preferred method of learning. Smaller enrollment provides a lower student-to-teacher ratio and emphasis on an education that gave the student exposure to many different courses.

Some employers prefer students who have a degree in liberal arts because of the broad base of knowledge that is imparted in this type of study. Student are not just completing studies in one area, they are studying many different aspects that can give them a deeper understanding of the world around them.

A liberal arts education can be a plus when considering graduate school. The knowledge base learned while being at a liberal arts college may be a benefit in other fields. For example, a student from a liberal arts college who has a Spanish major may be an excellent candidate for a law degree with an emphasis in immigration law.

The atmosphere of a liberal arts college creates space for the students to work together at higher order thinking skills. An appreciation for critical-thinking, a sense of community, to analyze information and to respond to people in this process of thinking is the basis for the education.

Liberal arts colleges often pride themselves in the types of education they offer. There is a heavy concentration on the course work at hand. For this reason, some liberal arts colleges offer students one class at a time while others with a traditional schedule may also offer an intensive term where only one class it taken during that time. There is some merit on being able to focus on one class at a time which allows the student to be totally immersed in the focused learning.

These types of situations are considered ripe for learning. Training people to process through a variety of life situations in the context of community is seen as a way to enhance life and processes. Learning how to learn is a key focus in a liberal arts education.

While this type of education may not be for everyone there is a place for it among the plethora of options at the college level. Liberal arts colleges respond to the needs of some college students better than a cookie-cutter education based on research outcomes.

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