Every year high school students across the United States and the rest of the world begin their college search process. In today’s ever-growing and competitive society, the college search process is not something to take lightly. Family vacations are centered on visiting schools in a specific geographic location, and younger siblings are upset that their vacation has turned into information sessions and campus tours instead of lunch with Mickey and Minnie and playing at the pool or beach.
I am sure that U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges Guidebook” is probably sitting on your coffee table with worn pages and questions scribbled on the index. Big schools, small schools, private schools, public schools, schools with great athletic teams, Liberal Arts Colleges, Research-based institutions, schools with…..the list goes on and on. Parents, counselors, teachers, friends, siblings, and that guy sitting next to you on an airplane all have opinions. Many people in your life will give you reasons why you should go to *Insert College or university here*, but does that really matter? It might—but at the end of the day you should be choosing the school that is the best fit for you. Today, I am going to tell you the top 10 reasons why a Liberal Arts School might be the place you should spend the next four years.
- Small Class Sizes— Liberal arts universities focus on creating an engaged learning experience. That experience comes from having small class sizes—Furman’s is actually just 19 students. Because classes are small, professors are able to provide discussion based classes that require students to interact not only with new ideas, but also with peers who might have viewpoints different from their own.
- Relationships with Faculty—Schools like Furman believe that having engaged and attentive faculty members is quintessential to any college education. Professors are not only working to conduct research and publish their findings but also striving to create meaningful mentor relationships with students. Every student has the opportunity to receive individual instruction and guidance from an expert in their field. (That’s why we don’t have TAs!)
- Unsure of your Major? That’s okay!—Most 17-year-olds do not know what they want to be when they grow up. Most liberal arts schools require that all students complete a set of general education requirements found in many different disciplines throughout campus. At Furman, we believe that students should be able to see issues from more than one angle. By requiring interdisciplinary coursework, we ensure that our graduates are ready to make an impact.
- Undergraduate Focus—Most Liberal Arts Universities have a focus on undergraduate students meaning that you will not be competing with graduate students for research or internship opportunities.
- Campus Community—With smaller enrollment and intentional relationships with faculty and staff, liberal arts universities create tight-knit campus communities. Furman believes that education reaches beyond the classroom. With only 2,800 students and over 180 student organizations, you have the chance to take on leadership roles all throughout campus.
- Global Citizenship—Schools like Furman work to expose you to new people, new places, and new ideas. Taking a trip outside of your comfort zone is an important part of any college experience. At Furman, over half of students leave the United States and immerse themselves in a new culture. Because Furman trips are led by our faculty members and include only about 15-20 other Furman students, we are able to provide once in a lifetime experiences that are specific to your individual interests.
- Communication and Teamwork – Because our classes are small and our professors are actively involved in class discussions, you will learn to contribute to discussions in a meaningful way to respond respectfully to differing viewpoints. Group projects help you find your place in a team and learn to collaborate with all different types of personalities. This kind of education helps you become the best version of yourself.
- Flexibility – As many experts in the field of higher ed have stated, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist . . . using technologies that haven’t been invented . . . in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” Liberal arts educations teach you to think critically, communicate effectively, and adapt to whatever comes next.