Not sure if you want to go to a liberal arts college or to a large university? You probably have a vision of what you expect college to be like, but you won’t know for sure what you’re in for until you visit college campuses, talk to students and evaluate your options. State colleges, large universities and private liberal arts colleges all offer significantly different college experiences.
You’ll want to choose a private liberal arts college if you fit the following five descriptions:
You aren’t sure what you want to major in, but you know your strengths lie in the arts, humanities or communications realm.
Liberal arts colleges are famous for providing a broad, foundational education that can be used for a wide range of careers. Your professors will give you input on how to use your strengths once you graduate, but your liberal arts degree will prepare you for a myriad of options. This is why liberals arts colleges are perfect for students who don’t have an interest in a specific career path, such as engineering or architecture.
You are intimidated by huge classes and want to know your professors and fellow students well.
One of the biggest complaints of freshman in college is that they feel “lost” and anonymous. After coming from a high school environment, you may find the big university experience to be overwhelming and discouraging.
Professors at state schools and universities usually only know the loudest, most vocal and assertive students – most students remain nameless and faceless for most classes. This can lead to a sense of deflation, as you feel like you are just a number or not part of a specific community.
If you go to a big college, you will need to take the initiative to join groups and get to know your professors if you don’t want to get lost in the crowd. You will also have to work especially hard if you don’t want to feel like a small fish in a big pond.
You are looking for a safe and secure college environment where you’ll be able to focus 100% on your studies.
Private liberal arts college campuses are usually self-contained, meaning you will feel safer and will be separate from the rest of the outside world. You won’t have to traipse across a city to get to your econ class at 8:00 p.m., and you’ll probably have security guards on campus who can escort you for late night pizza runs.
You want to pursue an advanced degree in law, seminary or business.
A liberal arts degree is the perfect foundation for any of these advanced degrees. Many professional schools favor private liberal arts colleges since they know you had to attend class, participate in classroom discussions and get involved with campus activities at your small college, as opposed to students who went to larger universities and might have skirted by with much participation.
You want a picturesque, somewhat pampered college experience.
Liberal arts schools are usually beautiful to look at, peaceful to study in and provide the quintessential college experience. If you’re looking for a college experience that is a lovely as it is challenging, you’ll want to choose a private liberal arts college.