While some question their value, there is no arguing that there is a ubiquitous upsurge in higher education liberal arts degrees. According to a recent analysis of IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) preliminary data by higher education consulting firm Gray Associates, liberal arts degree programs in 2016 ranked No. 1 for most completions, as well as for the largest increase in completions.
So what does that mean in a time where STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is considered a more esteemed and reliable path with more “profitable” courses than the “soft” subjects studied in a liberal arts education? If the usefulness of a Bachelor of the Arts is under such scrutiny, why are these degrees on the upswing? Here are some reasons why a liberal arts education is still so important.
- It’s good for your resume. The skills you develop with a liberal arts education such as oral communications, critical thinking, writing and problem solving are marketable across the job board.
- You learn how to think, not what to think. With a liberal arts education, you develop the ability and courage to think for yourself and shape your own principles, perspectives, beliefs and solutions to problems. There are no right answers to big questions, and you learn to explore a plethora of these answers. Employers seek innovative prospective employees, and your studies will prepare you to provide businesses with the creative outlook they crave.
- You are taught to really listen to the viewpoints of others. Putting yourself into someone else’s shoes is something many are never able to do. When it comes down to real issues, the ability to engage in thoughtful and respectful ways with those who have varying perspectives is invaluable. As workplaces are becoming more complex and globally interconnected, hiring managers seek college graduates who understand the larger picture.
- You’ll be better equipped for an unsteady job market. The liberal arts education provides a general area of studies, which can prove to be beneficial in this job market. You will be capable of holding multiple jobs that cover various fields over the duration of your lifetime, unlike someone who invested their time and money in a specific field that doesn’t cross over easily.
- A higher education translates to a higher income over your life. There is no use in going for a STEM degree if you don’t have the will or the heart to complete it. Completion of a degree is directly tied to higher salaries, so if your heart is in it for a Bachelor of the Arts, your degree will link to your future earning potential. There is a reason liberal arts students are finishing their degrees more than any other major!