Home > Non-Traditional University Students > Liberal Arts Education: Invaluable Experience or Ineffectual Waste of Resources?

Liberal Arts Education: Invaluable Experience or Ineffectual Waste of Resources?

Lately I have  been reading Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist, an extremely well-written and engaging blog centered around career advice.  Business Week calls her writing “poetic.”  Her career advice appears in more than 200 newspapers.

I recently replied to a post of hers titled, “How to manage a college education.”

(Image: Mike Keefe, The Denver Post)

Penelope,

I am a senior at a liberal arts college. I went to college directly out of high school, but realized that I had no idea what I wanted to study. I had to take several years off to commit to an area of study–communications.

I have many friends and associates who–with their frivolous degrees–are struggling to pay off debt while working in an industry completely unrelated to their area of study. I have been making every effort to avoid living that scenario.

Above all, I am extremely happy with my choice to study communications at a liberal arts college. My instructors are mentors who have years of experience and an excellent grasp on traditional communication methods and a handle on all of the current social media trends.

Many other invaluable opportunities are offered through universities, like study abroad programs, internship programs and student groups and societies, which further validate the importance of a liberal arts education.

While it is true that people can read and study the same information outside of a classroom that they can inside the classroom, a diploma certifies that a person has learned to write effectively and think critically.

It may be true that the generation that grew up with social media is the most effective at communicating of any generation in history, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are communicating strategically–in a way that will influence behavior.

Lastly, I do think that societal status (unfortunately) still plays a role in who gets the jobs on many occasions, even if two people have an equal knowledge base. Having a college degree plays a big role in societal status. Of course there are exceptions–Gates, Jobs, Kerkorian etc. So, I am willing to trade the $30K per year for that status in case I am not one of the lucky ones who can bypass an education and end up as a gizzillionaire.

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