Even more reasons to study the liberal arts
The liberal arts are for free people
A classical liberal arts education used to be synonymous with higher education. To study the liberal arts was to study what it means to live and think as people who are free. This required broad understanding of human nature, of theology, literature, languages, history, philosophy, rhetoric, logic, music, mathematics, and science. It required knowing how these various disciplines interact, how they help us understand who we are and where we’ve been, and how they apply to new situations and shed light on current events.
The system of offering multiple majors at the undergraduate level didn’t begin until late in the 19th century when the Industrial Revolution’s demand for well trained—but not necessarily well educated—workers. Universities became extensions of the factory, making employability the highest (and, in most of our current culture, the only) goal of higher education. Yet for all their promises of providing employable skills, university majors simply don’t deliver. In fact, The Washington Post reports that a mere 27% of college graduates are working in a field that even closely relates to their college major. This means that college students across the country are going deep into debt just to be narrowly—and often shallowly—trained for jobs they will never have.
The liberal arts are essential for technology, science, medicine, and business
The liberal arts, on the other hand, have never been primarily about job training. And yet, a liberal arts degree—by virtue of its depth and breadth—continues to prove its enduring value in the workplace and beyond:
• According to Forbes, a liberal arts degree has become “tech’s hottest ticket.”
• The Huffington Post, in defense of the liberal arts, cites the president of Harvard saying, “The world needs…scientists and engineers who can think beyond the immediate and instrumental to address the bigger picture and the longer term.”
• With its interview of ten CEOs of some of the world’s top corporations, including YouTube, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Disney, and Hewlett-Packard, Business Insider demonstrates the astonishing career success of students of the liberal arts.
• As NPR reports, one of the nation’s top medical schools, realizing that a program full of pre-med students was “producing sub-par doctors,” created the “HuMed” program specifically aimed at bringing liberal arts majors into the study of medicine. It has been so successful, it is now being expanded.
• To quote IT World’s recent article, “Go on and study music, literature, art, philosophy, and everything else that is ‘useless’ but makes you a more well-rounded, critical thinker—the kind that tech companies want to scoop up.”
• And the renowned poet T.S. Eliot sums up the danger of specialization and the need for broad liberal arts education well: “No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which he took no interest.”
New Saint Andrews offers undergraduates a single, time-honored, integrated academic program in the classical liberal arts, emphasizing the languages, literature, philosophy, history, and culture of Western civilization from a reformational Christian perspective.
As our alumni can testify, a liberal arts degree is an incredibly practical and flexible degree for a huge range of careers. We also offer internship opportunities that allow students to gain on-the-job career experience during their four years at NSA. We refuse to dilute our classical liberal arts program in the name of vocational-technical pragmatism. Vocational skills are too important to leave to the academy, and narrow career training is a poor substitute for a biblically grounded liberal arts education.
Want to learn more about the value of the liberal arts? Schedule a visit!
Our next Prospective Student Weekend—complete with dancing, rugby, BBQ, and time with NSA students and faculty—is coming this Labor Day weekend.