By Heather Huhman
It's an ongoing debate that has been given a lot of steam in recent years – Is a liberal arts degree worth it?
In ancient times, the liberal arts included subjects that were considered "essential for a free citizen to study." Today, the term has evolved into an education that imparts general knowledge that includes literature, language, philosophy, history, mathematics, psychology, and science.
When jobs are scarce and college tuition is sky-high, it's definitely worth discussing. While the liberal arts are valuable, are they as valuable as specialized education?
Check out these four reasons why having a liberal arts degree can help your career.
It stirs the conversation
In a recent Business Today article, Going Liberal on Wall Street, "One of the major pluses of a non-technical education is the emphasis on inter-personal skills. Students in liberal arts take courses in diverse fields like History, Political Science, and English. It enables them to engage in meaningful conversation on a variety of social, economic, and political issues."
It opens your mind
When studying one of the various fields of study in the college of liberal arts, students have the opportunity to expand their knowledge. Major areas of liberal arts include: mathematics, science, arts, language, and history.
Many universities also require students to take "general education courses" which typically are spread among the different categories within liberal arts. This allows students to get a well-rounded education instead of spending their college years on only one specific subject.
An important thing to remember is if you have a Bachelor of Arts it doesn't mean you won't find a job. There are positives and negatives to any field of study and the pros definitely outweigh the cons for liberal arts.
While there are many sectors that directly pull from the liberal arts, many companies (like Disney) prefer their entry-level employees to have a blank slate and will train on the job.
It has a history
There are many famous leaders who have received a B.A., a few examples:
- Henry "Hank" Paulson, 74th United States Secretary of the Treasury and former CEO & Chairman of Goldman Sachs, graduated with an English degree from Dartmouth College.
- Steve Wynn, American business entrepreneur, best known for the Wynn and Encore resorts in Las Vegas, graduated with a degree in English literature.
- Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush all graduated with various degrees in history.
- Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung both received psychology degrees, who were both pioneers in the psychology field.
It doesn't matter what degree you get - it matters what you do with it. Picking up the right internships and experiences early on can help shape and focus a career path. People with degrees in the liberal arts can still be the President or CEO; it's up to them to make it happen.
What do you think? Have any other advice for liberal arts majors? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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