The Liberal Arts: “What can you do with a liberal arts degree?"
and Five More Common Questions Asked by Parents
- What are the liberal arts?
The liberal arts refer to a general studies curriculum
that is intended to provide students with knowledge
and intellectual development, rather than specialized
occupational training and skills.
Today’s liberal arts programs aim to focus less on
direct professional training and education, rather promoting
a general education that often includes courses
in natural and social sciences, political science, writing
and literature, history, math, language and the arts.
- What can you do with a liberal
Anything! Take a random poll sometime and
assess how many of your family members or friends
are in jobs that would obviously match the degree or
education they received. More and more people are
promoting their transferable skills and taking on
careers they never thought they would. College is not
job training; it is life learning. Your student is gaining
lifelong skills that will guide him successfully not only
in a career, but in life.
Encourage your student to embrace those ambivalent
classes that he “has to take” and be open to the
new interests and passions that may emerge.
- How do you market a liberal arts
Show your passion and interest in the field.
Demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively.
Demonstrate problem-solving capabilities.
Share tangible examples that exhibit constructive
and collaborative interaction with others.
Promote your adaptability to change.
Transferable, Transferable, Transferable – your
skills are transferable
Share your willingness, ability and interest in
- Can she acquire a good paying
job with a liberal arts degree?
Myth # 1 – she can follow
her heart, but it’s not going
to pay the bills. How does the
motto go, “Follow your heart,
and the money will follow.”
For many parents, and understandably
so, this is just too
risky. Money isn’t everything, but
it is understood that you want
your student to invest in her
future and be financially secure. You may find comfort
in knowing that recent research suggests that approximately
60 percent of the nation's CEOs have a liberal
arts degree, and the average starting salaries for liberal
arts graduates is in the range of $40,000, depending
on the geographic location.
A professional degree does not ensure a high
salary career; nor does a liberal arts degree determine
a low-salary career.
Referenced from “What Can I Do with a Liberal Arts
Degree” by Barb Norrbom, The Business Report, http://www.colostate.edu/Colleges/LibArts/careewha.htm
- What specific skills and knowledge
will a liberal arts degree
provide that will be attractive to
a future employer?
Research shows that the skills that today’s
employers most commonly seek in their employees
are the exact ones gained through a liberal arts curriculum. A skill-base founded on communication, critical
thinking, an ability to work effectively with others,
problem-solving, and a sense of curiosity helps
develop a well-rounded individual who becomes an
attractive candidate to prospective employers.
The top 10 personal qualities/skills employers
seek, according to the National Association of
Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2007 survey
1. Communication skills (verbal and written)
3. Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
5. Strong work ethic
6. Teamwork skills (works well with others)
7. Computer skills
8. Analytical skills
- Don’t you
just need a
you want to
go on to
A liberal arts education
planning to pursue
further education in
graduate school. However, the liberal arts are not
restricted to those seeking a Masters or doctorate. The
skills gained in a liberal arts program will benefit any
future professional, in any potential career.