Post about "Arts Education"

How to Get a Job With Your Liberal Arts Degree

I am a believer in a liberal arts education. I have five kids who have all been gainfully employed since they graduated from college with liberal arts degrees. I know liberal arts emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, and written and oral communication skills. However, I agree that much could be done to make this degree more marketable. A recent quote from Philip D. Gardener of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute, indicates that “The top three things employers want to see in candidates are internships, leadership of professional organizations, and faculty supervised consulting with a company.”Too many parents are focused on their child majoring in something with a big financial return and the ability to get a job right out of college. If your child wants to be an engineer, then engineering could be a good major. However, if your child lacks the ability or interest in becoming an engineer and is forced into this major, it would be a big mistake. Parents should provide opportunities for their child to explore different majors that could be a good fit. Much to some individual’s surprise, many medical schools seek students who are philosophy majors. Many other businesses like history or English majors.As a private college counselor, I know that it is important to get value from your college investment, but I have talked with too many adults who were miserable during their college years because they were in a major that was not appropriate for them. Instead of choosing something that genuinely interested them, they went with a major that was supposed to have immediate, tangible benefits.Employers consistently report that many of the liberal arts courses they took in college were the most valuable to their experience in the business world. One of the main reasons they often hire liberal arts majors is because they exhibit the analytical thinking skills to work through complex problems and they know how to deal effectively with other employees and adapt to constant changes.A student with a liberal arts degree can do almost anything, although recently we have read too much about the liberal arts major without a job and a huge debt load. The facts indicate that liberal arts majors are more inclined to get internships, have strong mentoring relationships with professors, participate in networking opportunities and earn more money over a life time than other college majors.It is time to give the liberal arts degree more credibility. Having a degree in the liberal arts will not necessarily get you a job; you need to learn how to do that. Colleges need to help students throughout their education learn how to sell themselves to business employers. Students need to know how to network, interview, write an effective resume and communicate to an employer that they have the interpersonal skills, broad knowledge, and experiences that will benefit a particular organization.