Liberal Arts Colleges in US

The US has several liberal arts colleges offering what is called liberal arts education. Liberal arts colleges are undergraduate-focused, with small class sizes in the 12 to 30-student range. The student body tends to be small, 700 to 2500 students, with 70 percent or more residing on campus and pursuing their education full time.

The liberal arts education in America which is a multi-disciplinary education was actually developed by Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher. He strongly believed that a good education was not just intellectual development of a student but also emotional, social and spiritual development of a person. So in a liberal arts college in US, students even though choose a major, they spend most of their first two years studying different subjects before focusing on one area.

Although the syllabus varies from college to college, a student's coursework at a liberal arts school would include most or all of the following subjects: history, philosophy, religion, literature, physical sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics), social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, economics, politics), the arts (e.g., theater, music, art), languages, and mathematics.

Characteristics of Liberal Arts College
  • Mission statements of most liberal arts colleges state that the main aim is to emphasize education for its own sake rather than for job preparation.
  • Liberal Arts Colleges usually enroll lesser students compared to degree colleges. Many liberal arts colleges have not more than 2,000 students with low student-teacher ratio.
  • Teachers, students and professors often collaborate and interact with one another in the learning process.
  • Liberal Arts Colleges encourage out of the box and critical thinking, inquiry and investigation.

Admission to Liberal Arts Colleges

Student can seek early admission to Liberal Arts College in the US if he/she has excellent scholastic record in the first 3 years of high school. The student would require submitting a recommendation letter from the school principal, academic scores and approval of parents.

Though a student applies to the institution and not the College or School, each College or School still has some minimum requirements. This includes specific numbers of semesters of each core academic course: for instance, a College of Arts might require 4 semesters of math, 4 of laboratory science, 8 of English and 6 of foreign language.

For applying to US Liberal Arts Colleges, you can apply online or submit a print application. Most of the liberal arts colleges have their own application form; however, some of the colleges accept Common Application Form as well.

Tuition Cost and Financial Aid for Studying in Liberal Arts Colleges in US

Tuition costs vary among liberal arts colleges, but the total cost of the education can be higher than a large public university, especially as the campus-based, full-time model at some liberal arts colleges discourage students from working while they pursue the degree. Liberal arts colleges may advertise a high tuition, but 30 to 60 percent of students receive some form of financial aid, averaging $4000, according to an unofficial source. The U.S. Department of Education reports that nearly 80 percent of all full-time students received financial aid totaling an average of $12,700 per year. To know more about various options of financing your college education refer to Financial Aid.
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