Think about your senior year in high school. All the decisions you had to make, what colleges to apply to, and which one to choose when you got the acceptance letters; whether or not you wanted to go to college at all. You may have had different people telling you different things, everyone trying to convince you what the best decision to make was. But ultimately you had to choose for yourself. Weather that was a traditional 4 year college, a technical education, or going straight into the work force, liberal arts education was a term that most likely came up during the exploration of your options.Order now
According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities a liberal arts education is an “approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. ” But does every major need this broad knowledge? Not every student is able to succeed in a traditional liberal arts setting, even if they want to (Murray).
Traditional liberal arts education has many advantages and disadvantages all ultimately based on what the individual student would like to do with the education they receive. Employers are increasing the use of a bachelor’s degree as a qualification for jobs in order to determine how prepared someone is for the position. Because of this more students are being forced into a well-rounded curriculum during their college years, when in reality many simply want to use college as a vocational type school, only to acquire the skills they need for the job (Murray).
So many qualified people become discouraged because they cannot afford a four year degree. Murray suggests replacing the bachelor’s degree requirement with certification tests. This way, people can get the job they are qualified for without being judged by the name of the college they attended, they are only tested on how well they perform. In June of 2013 Mike Rowe was the Keynote Speaker at the SkillsUSA National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
One of the main points that Rowe made was “The problem is with what most of the country defines as a good job. ” What he is referring to is a job that is received after a solid four year education. He also talked about the popular campaign in the 1970’s of “Work Smart NOT Hard. ” Rowe says that it is the “Worst advice he has ever heard. ” But the campaign worked. College admissions rose considerably over the next few decades. But where did some of these people end up?
Thousands of dollars in debt, and not even working a job in the field that they spent so long to study. Rowe also stresses the point that he is not against the traditional four year college, but that our nation needs to reconsider the mindset on jobs in the two year technical college fields. A liberal arts based education can also be very useful for students in many ways. Alex Soholt, 2016 Wheaton College graduate wrote a blog post to help students understand why they are taking classes outside of their major at this particular college.
These same principals can apply to this style of education as a whole. The liberal arts style of education makes students more well-rounded and open-minded individuals in their adult lives. It helps students exercise their brain, and become stronger analytical thinkers. It also provides advantages when it comes to teaching others new things, even if they are not a teaching major. Overall the liberal style of education can ultimately help students in their lives as they go into the real world after college.
Whether or not a four year liberal arts education is needed depends on what the student wants to do with the education that they receive. For example, if someone wants to be a chemistry teacher, they are more likely to need the diverse courses of English and Mathematics, in addition to courses in Chemistry and teaching. On the other hand, if the student wants to be an electrician, the various courses in English, Mathematics and, the Sciences can seem like a waste of time and money because they are not things that they will be using in work field every day.
In closing, Murray says that Obama can change our nation’s way of thinking when it comes the bachelor’s degree as a basic job qualification. As our president is encouraging people to utilize community colleges, he also needs to be telling our nation this, “It’s what you can do that should count when you apply for a job, not where you learned to do it. ” (Murray) That is the type of thinking that will change our nation from using a four year degree as a basic qualification for a job, to giving the job to the most qualified applicant, the way it is meant to be.