How a Liberal Arts Education Can Change Your Life

There are a lot of misconceptions about liberal arts education and the value of it for students. But the liberal arts can change your life, and here's how.

If you follow the conversation about higher education, you may have noticed a lot of talk about the liberal arts: Are they “good”? Are they “dead”? Do they have a place in the landscape of higher education, especially considering the high (and rising) cost of that education? Well, as far as the members of Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) are concerned, studying the liberal arts is the best way to educate future leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, artists, and lawyers. Why? A liberal arts education teaches young people how to think, communicate clearly, analyze data, work with others, and solve problems. These qualities are critical—and not just because they build a strong academic foundation. The liberal arts are practical and pragmatic too!

Skills you develop with the liberal arts

When surveyed, employers consistently say the most important skills they need in employees are those developed in a liberal arts education: The ability to communicate with people one-on-one, in small groups, and in large groups. The ability to write well for many different audiences, to persuade and influence with words and ideas. The ability to work with others who have difference perspectives. The ability to creatively solve problems, integrate several perspectives, analyze data, and develop an action plan. These skills are the hallmark of a liberal arts education, and they prepare students for the world in which they will live and work. 

Liberal arts and sciences

But what if you’re interested in the sciences? Contrary to popular belief, a liberal arts college or university might be perfect for you too! The abovementioned skills are critical in those fields as well; in fact, many employers in the “hard” sciences are often desperately searching for candidates with the “soft” skills central to the liberal arts. And a liberal arts curriculum can be rich in science training. Applied Computing, Biochemistry, Behavioral Neuroscience, Environmental Geology, Financial Economics, Mathematics, Physics: you’ll find all these majors and more at liberal arts schools. 

Related: Can I Study Science at a Liberal Arts College?

College costs comparison

When considering a liberal arts college or university, students and parents are often worried about the cost, and they often wonder why this type of college is more expensive. It’s true there are often higher costs associated with this type of education—liberal arts colleges are committed to providing full-time faculty who will mentor and advise. They also pride themselves on small student-faculty ratios. This commitment to high-quality teaching and accessible, engaged faculty means the colleges must commit financial resources to their salaries and benefits. And, of course, liberal arts schools want to provide up-to-date, well-equipped, and fun campuses that meet students’ (and parents’) expectations. Many private universities provide financial aid packages that make their education just as affordable—if not more so—than their state-sponsored counterparts, particularly for high-achieving students.

Prospective fields and careers

Think about the jobs of today that didn’t exist 20, 10, or even a few years ago: social media manager, content marketer, online entrepreneur, etc. By preparing for many careers through a liberal arts education, graduates position themselves to be fluid and effective leaders because they are good thinkers and strategists who can see the big picture as well as make definite plans to solve a problem or market an idea. Liberal arts schools produce graduates who do incredibly well out in the “real world,” with lifetime employment ratings and earnings that are just as good—if not better—than their peers who do not hold a liberal arts degree. Furthermore, a student who can use their skills to move from one industry to another will find their career paths more flexible. They will be ready to follow new developments in technology. They will be prepared to become the decision makers and social change agents of the future.

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Need a Liberal Arts Education

A liberal arts education is broad for a reason—it prepares you for a multitude of career fields and positions. This broad-based knowledge and skillset is desired by employers, often more affordable than the education offered at specialized institutions, and helps you grow as an individual. Consider the liberal arts for a lifetime of opportunity. 

Start exploring amazing liberal arts schools right here on CollegeXpress with our list of Great Colleges for the Liberal Arts.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Joan Franklin

Joan Franklin


I love this website and have been using it for years with my students. I originally bought products through Wintergreen Orchard House and appreciated having key facts at my fingertips when advising students. Your site is easy to access and offers a wide array of topics I need as a busy college counselor.

Hannah Nelsen

Hannah Nelsen

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me look at colleges that fit my interests by taking my profile and matching it to colleges that have the programs I'm looking for. It has the ability to connect me to colleges so I can be contacted by them and look at them more in-depth to find what's right for me. Additionally, the scholarship database is super beneficial for getting scholarships for college. Not only does it help lift the financial burden of college but it shows all the opportunities available. Overall, CollegeXpress has been very helpful to me.

Nazira Abdelkhalek

Nazira Abdelkhalek

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2014

I am very honored to be this year’s recipient of the Multicultural Student Community Service Scholarship! This scholarship is vital to helping me achieve and fulfill my dreams, and gives me confidence and motivation as I begin my college career. The CollegeXpress website has been invaluable over the past year as I planned my educational and professional goals. I highly recommend it to all students as they begin to focus on their college and career interests. The website is a wonderful guide to schools and scholarships.

Damian Rangel

Damian Rangel

September 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me tackle college expenses, which will allow me to put more of my time and effort into my studies without the need of worrying as much about finances.

Sierra Carranza

Sierra Carranza

High School Class of 2022

I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go to school; I was considering colleges in almost every state. CollegeXpress was an amazing resource and helped me compare all of my top schools. Without the help of CollegeXpress, I probably wouldn't have made such an informed and confident decision.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Union University

Jackson, TN