Monday, November 20, 2017
Why your liberal arts education is worth more than just a degree
Molly Martin ‘19
You have probably heard opposition about earning a degree in the liberal arts—what will you do with a degree like that, after all? But getting a liberal arts education is one of the best things you can do for your career. You’ll develop key skills with such a diverse degree—and employers are noticing. Messiah College, a private Christian college of the liberal and applied arts and sciences prepares students well; in fact, 98 percent of Messiah College graduates are employed full-time or in graduate or professional programs six to nine months after graduation.
What kind of skills will I develop when I study the liberal arts?
Holistic approach to life
A liberal arts degree means that engineering majors must dig down into their creative brains in Introduction to Poetry. Accounting majors will leave the excel spreadsheets for a brief period and find themselves in a hands-on environment, learning about living a healthy lifestyle in Nutrition and Dietetics. This well-rounded education increases knowledge on many facets and enhances your ability to solve problems. You will be able to write well and know what to buy at the grocery store to fuel your day right, in addition to being a formidable trivia night opponent!
With class requirements extending across multiple departments, you will have the ability to develop new skills by the way you think. Classes in philosophy, theology and English help you learn to work through a complex web of ideas and pull from past experiences to formulate a new understanding or solution.
“Many of the Fortune 1000 and federal agency employers who advertise their jobs on College Recruiter have told us that they greatly value students and recent graduates with liberal arts degrees because those candidates tend to have good critical thinking skills.” -Steven Rothberg, president and founder of College Recruiter.
Do you ever feel anxious about sending an email? Do you worry about standing in front of large groups to present your research and strategies? Have you gotten in arguments with your little brother about something silly, like who gets the car over the weekend? Learning to disagree in an amicable fashion and see both sides of an argument is an important skill. Working on presentation skills in college will help you clearly make your point. Many classes require writing or speaking components that help you practice persuasive writing, rhetoric and public speaking.
Quantitative and qualitative skills are necessary for candidates entering a workforce where more and more employees are making data-driven decisions. Numbers are important. Engineering has the capacity to change the world; sciences like computer science and biopsychology are vital for functionality; and statistics are the backbone of some of the largest economic infrastructures in the world. Liberal arts degrees do not push these classes to the wayside, but instead encourage them just as much as English, education, history and foreign languages.
Part of resilience is adjusting to change. In today’s fast paced and energetic world, you need to be nimble. You’ll need to adapt quickly to change, and understand the latest vocabulary (bc tl:dr is a thing rn lol). In your career, you will need to recover quickly from difficulties—to process the world with your eyes wide open, ready to adapt to the situation at hand. The more expertise an individual has in areas like the social sciences, psychology, anthropology and religious studies, the more conversations they will be able to generate in the future.
Ability to double major
In addition to the plethora of majors and class options Messiah offers, the liberal arts also gives you the opportunity to double major or add a minor. So for the diligent workers who want to double major in accounting and Spanish or chemistry majors who want a little background from a business administration minor, it’s a perfect fit!
With a liberal arts education, you can earn credit for your internship or for traveling the world. Messiah has an Experimental Learning Initiative (ELI) requirement, which can be satisfied by activities like student teaching, internships or studying abroad. The ELI is an awesome opportunity to prepare you for the real world, help you build a resume, and create lasting memories. Messiah utilizes a program called Handshake and hosts career fairs to help you connect, network and find a job. There is a large network of businesses and alums just waiting to meet young and bright students! Messiah also offers ways for you to study abroad all around the globe. There are English majors in Oxford, psychology students in Lithuania, and others in Australia, Africa, China, Indonesia, Greece, Italy, Spain and so many more. Check out the Career Center and Intercultural Office to learn more.
Employers are looking for the skills gained from a liberal arts education because they know it includes a cohesive collection of experiences. The qualities students develop from a liberal arts background makes efficient, resourceful and avid learners in the workplace. According to Felice Nudelman, Antioch University Chancellor, “The ability to continuously learn within an organization is particularly attractive for employers. Liberal arts students excel in this field.” An academic institution like Messiah College has core values of inclusiveness, making sure students have a broad spread of knowledge with a specific concentration on an individual’s major.
Messiah College could be the perfect place for you to pursue a meaningful liberal arts degree and a big step towards reaching your dream career! To look further into what Messiah College can offer you visit the full list of programs here.