With over 1,500 colleges and universities in the United States, there are roughly 200 small to mid-sized liberal arts colleges. Amongst those includes Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Wellesley, Emory, Vassar, just to name a few. While you may or may not have heard of these colleges during your college information session at your high school, this article is going to explain to you why you should consider adding them to your Common Application when the cycle opens again in August.
1. High faculty to student ratio
What does this mean? This means that rather than being amongst a sea of 500 students in a lecture hall, liberal arts colleges are smaller, meaning classroom sizes are smaller and students are better supported by faculty members. Benefits of this is a more personalized education; rather than the temptation of skipping lectures due to the impersonal education that Universities offer, Professors know their students by name. This allows for more effective office hours visitation and a good chance of actually developing a relation with your Professors; leading to strong Letters of Recommendation, life advice, and potential references for job opportunities. And for those of you thinking about graduate/medical/law school, this also means better support for the application process by the career development office at your school.
2. Research Opportunities
While research in colleges are different from universities with graduate and PhD students, research opportunities at liberal arts colleges oftentimes allow for you to be the main researcher (with the advisory of Professors); from developing your question to carrying out the experimentation, data analysis and presentation of your work. This allows a more personalized experience of the scientific method, and what it means to be an actual scientist. In addition, research laboratories at liberal arts colleges are compatible to those you find at big universities.
3. Open Curriculums (Vassar, Amherst, Grinnell, Hamilton, Smith, Wesleyan)
4. Campus Community and Beyond
Because liberal arts colleges tend to be smaller in size, the sense of community is much stronger. This means stronger relationships and friendships so that when you sit on graduation hill, four years later, you won’t find yourself knowing less than 5 percent of your graduating class. The sense of community and identity is tightly knit at smaller colleges; this also means a stronger alumni network and networking opportunities.
Even for pre-med students, a liberal arts education provides for you a strong foundation to tackle and adapt to any challenge that faces our rapidly changing world. A liberal arts education allows for you to be life-time learner, even after you leave the classroom. It allows for you to build friendships that will last a lifetime, and it allows for you to take charge of your own education. So, when the Common Application opens on August 1st, take some consideration to adding a few liberal arts colleges to your list.