How Attending a Small Liberal Arts College Can Do Wonders For Your Education and Your Career

Have you ever considered attending a small liberal arts college? I think you should carefully contemplate and investigate that option. The education you can receive is top-notch. The individualized attention you receive from full professors who teach classes can be a marvelous side benefit of these wonderful colleges.

A small liberal arts college doesn’t have a law school, a medical school, a business school, or a graduate school. Its focus is on undergraduate education, and in many cases it does an excellent job of this mandate. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages of attending a college rather than a university, and I will list just a few of them here.

Small liberal arts colleges have definite advantages and disadvantages when it comes to college life. I’ll just mention a few of things you should consider in making your application decision:

  • Full professors generally do the teaching. There are seldom any Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants teaching classes. Thus, undergraduates are taught by experts in their fields.
  • Colleges generally have small class sizes. The student-faculty ratio is low – often below 10 to 1.
  • Everybody knows you.
  • Professors know you well. I have two children who attended small liberal arts colleges and both of them blossomed tremendously as a result of their experiences.
  • Liberal arts colleges are especially beneficial if you want to go to professional or graduate school, such as law, medical, or graduate school.
  • The emphasis on undergraduate education.
  • Usually these small colleges partner with larger institutions for course they don’t offer, such as engineering programs, business courses, etc.
  • When you attend a small college, it’s easier to be a big man on campus

Some of their advantages are also disadvantages:

  • Everybody knows you. Some people would like to sit back and relax without always being around people they know.
  • The small liberal arts colleges often lack variety and diversity. Al of the students may seem to be cut from the same mold. They may be of predominantly the same religion, socioeconomic status, etc.
  • Campus life can be boring. They don’t have high-adrenaline Division I Sports programs and the excitement and enthusiasm such a sports program frequently brings to campus for current students and alumni. Social life can be limited.
  • Sometimes the professors know you too well. You can’t hide.
  • Life on campus can be like living in a fishbowl. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing.

So the small liberal arts college has pros and cons. Decide for yourself if you like what they have to offer. A campus visit should help you decide. Also talk with current students.

Ultimately, whether you decide to attend a large research university or a small liberal arts college will not make the definitive difference. The deal-maker or the deal-breaker is you. In actuality, you are the one who will make the principle difference. So be the best you that you possibly can and wherever you decide to attend college can be greatly beneficial to you.

Angela Arnold is an educator, author, and college consultant. A parent of five college graduates, she helps students get accepted to their dream colleges. Ready to learn more about the college application process? Watch this brief video about liberal arts colleges at Be sure to visit her website

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