12.12.2019

Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal arts

If you are looking for a college where the focus is on teaching, small class size, and accessible faculty, a liberal arts college may be for you. These colleges provide a broad understanding of multiple disciplines as well as a deep understanding in a learner’s area of choice. Classes are offered in humanities, social sciences, physical and life sciences, math, fine arts, and even computer science.

Liberal arts colleges have learner populations that range from 300 to 4,000 learners. The focus is on undergraduate education with limited graduate programs, so classes are taught by professors, not graduate students. Instead of large lectures with 500 learners, classes typically range from 15 to 20 learners and are taught seminar-style.

College features vary. There are conservative and faith-based schools, such as Hillsdale and Wheaton, and there are liberal secular colleges, such as Reed and Sarah Lawrence. While most schools have traditional curricula, there are alternative-style schools that have no grades, such as The Evergreen State College and College of the Atlantic. Hamilton and Grinnell have open curricula where the student has no general education requirements. Colorado College and Cornell College use a block schedule or one class at a time. One college, Hampshire, refuses to consider SAT or ACT scores in admission!

There is often an assumption that liberal arts colleges will be very expensive, but quite often the sticker price is misleading. Some of the most generous scholarships come from liberal arts colleges. For students with lower to middle incomes, a number of colleges promise to fill the financial gap between what a family can pay and the total cost of attendance. For those with a higher income, there are colleges that give deep discounts to a large percentage of learners. There are also several public liberal arts colleges that are part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange and give tuition discounts to California students. The bottom line: Don’t count out liberal arts colleges because of cost. You might be surprised!

If you need help building a list of colleges, please make an appointment with Laura Kazan, iLEAD’s college advisor, here.

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