While liberal arts students usually have a wider variety of courses as opposed to more career-focused curriculum, the experts recommend taking a few specialized classes as well. This essay first appeared in the Spring 2014 edition of Wooster magazine. I was a Political Science major. As to what you can do with a degree in liberal arts, the benefits go far beyond the specific subject knowledge from a particular degree. Liberal arts, humanities, and soft majors of all types now face competition for entry-level positions from people with far more vocationally relevant degrees. In fact, the Pew Research Center has found that for younger workers, those from 25 to 32, the earnings gap between those with a college degree and those without is wider than at any time in the past 50 years. Baby boomers and hippies might deny the existence of “worthless” college degrees; because their English degree paid off back in the 1970’s, or because you should “follow your heart, for you won’t be good at what you don’t love!”. The point of education is - or at least should be - to make the world whole and comprehensible for the learner through instruction, and to prepare the young for adulthood. “If you can’t write as a college graduate, it limits you in terms of your opportunities,” she says. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. A college degree is worthless if nobody is willing to pay you for the skills you acquired while earning it. 5. Today is National Voter Registration Day! But students in certain areas of study are having a harder time securing employment. My worthless degrees did nothing but remove me from the world of real work; to widen the chasm between myself and the actual jobs which existed in the real economy. They’ll have both useful skills and work experience. 6. Ninety-five percent say it is important that those they hire demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity of continued new learning. Julia Klein '83, a political science major at Wooster, is chairwoman and CEO of C.H. That is the problem of a “liberal” education. If you want to pursue higher education but don’t think traditional college is right for you, you might wonder if an online liberal arts degree is worth your time and money. The graduate program of Law is an example. Kindergarten teachers, and pharmacy techs also help people… by helping people. Liberal arts grads can have an advantage over their peers by potentially earning a higher salary in the future, says Lee. Smucker Company, stresses the intercultural and leadership skills he gained while earning his bachelor's degree in economics. 4. At Wooster? Liberal arts, humanities, and soft majors of all types now face competition for entry-level positions from people with far more vocationally relevant degrees. The big, bad Patriarchal, colonialist, imperialist, capitalist, white male power structure is oppressing Humanities students. According to a study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, unemployment is generally higher among those with degrees in non-technical fields; architecture majors face an unemployment rate of 13.9%, those with an arts degree face 11.1%, and liberal arts majors have a 9.4% rate. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. This is the real sticking point. If there are no jobs in the field, or the starting salaries are lower than the median salaries of jobs that don’t require a college degree, your major is a waste of time. “Two misconceptions fuel this discussion:  one, that the ‘worth’ can be measured by dollars alone rather than through higher level skills gained through the degree, and two, that the value can be measured through the individual’s first job, rather than through the life course,” she says. “It is not hard to pursue a liberal arts degree while also obtaining skills aimed primarily at the job market,” says D’Anieri. Of course, becoming a surgeon or a chemist might not be realistic with a master’s degree in liberal studies, but chances are good that if you are interested in a liberal studies degree, you wouldn’t want to be a surgeon or a chemist anyway. Prepare for a Wave of College Tuition Cuts. “The ability to comprehend, communicate, and conquer problems is the name of the game and is implied with a liberal arts degree.”. Today, that number hovers at around 40 percent, and in the United States we have had a decade of virtually no economic growth. In this sense, a Wooster education is the most practical education possible in and for the world today. Today more than ever, it is critical for a serious-minded young person to avoid the pitfalls of picking a worthless major in college. ", Tim Smucker '67, chairman of The J.M. The short answer is: really, whatever you want to! "It provided the background necessary to develop leadership skills that encompass a sensitive and mindful approach to others' interests, capabilities, and desires.". ©2020 Verizon Media. "The way I think about things, my curiosity, my imagination, the kind of questions I ask, those are abilities, skills, traits that you don't get in business school. So is there a lifetime of value -- simply economic value -- in a Wooster degree? Is a liberal arts college degree still worth it? The return on that investment remains significant. It was easy to get into professional entry-level employment.


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