Source: Kentucky Wesleyan College
Source: Kentucky Wesleyan College

Today’s employers seek adaptability and flexibility in their new hires, qualities readily provided by a liberal arts education. Rooted in a centuries-old tradition, this approach goes beyond the narrow confines of specialised knowledge and equips individuals with a broad range of critical skills, such as problem-solving, creativity, leadership, communication, and a well-rounded understanding of the human experience. 

Hence the successes of Howard Schultz, Michael Eisner, Susan Wojcicki, and Jack Ma — all of whom once majored in the liberal arts. Respectively, they orchestrated Starbucks’ global rise, revolutionised entertainment, shaped the digital landscape, and redefined commerce. It’s safe to say liberal arts foundations contributed to their innovative visions and helped fuel their long-term success. 

Research does indicate that liberal arts graduates possess broad knowledge and valuable soft skills that are particularly advantageous in the later phases of their careers. Studies also show that they tend to gain substantial salary increases from their late 30s to early 40s, outpacing other major disciplines at the fastest rate. 

To secure an equally outstanding outcome for yourself, here are four dynamic liberal arts-based universities in the US worth considering: 

Kentucky Wesleyan College

Kentucky Wesleyan College, a distinguished institution steeped in the liberal arts tradition since 1858, is ranked among the Top 25 Best Regional Colleges in the South by the US News and World Report and best in the Southeast for 19 consecutive years by Princeton Review.

Here, students are cultivated into critical thinkers, effective communicators, and ethical individuals, poised to navigate the intricate and swiftly evolving global landscape. With a diverse array of 30 majors and 13 pre-professional curricula, there’s a programme to nourish and prepare students of all aspirations to achieve success in life.

From day one, students embark on a personalised journey that caters to their unique interests. Through a small classroom setting, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1, students engage in a close-knit learning environment that fosters robust interaction and individual attention. Guiding this transformative experience are experienced faculty members, 88% of whom possess a PhD or terminal degree.

Learning is hands-on. For example, business students actively engage in the IACBE Live Case Competition, a platform where their performance secured them the third place in 2023. Communications majors eagerly embraced the opportunities presented by the 90.3 WKWC radio station and podcast studio. Their enthusiasm and dedication paid off as they clinched accolades at the BEA 2023 Festival of Media Arts, showcasing their prowess in the field.

Beyond business administration and communication arts, Kentucky Wesleyan offers a diverse array of dynamic programmes that address both present necessities and future requisites in an ever-changing world. These include natural/health sciences, chemistry, history and more — each fuses advanced technologies and innovative teaching methods for lasting results.

Pair it with “The Wesleyan Way,” and students here undergo a life changing experience. Click here to learn more about Kentucky Wesleyan College and its liberal arts programmes.

Haverford College

Located just outside Philadelphia, Haverford College boasts academic rigour, an Honour Code, and a beautiful arboretum campus. The college aspires to be an exemplary comprehensive institution that focuses on diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism. 

Known to offer a one-of-a-kind education, Haverford lets students become actively engaged with their learning, urging them to progress in the field of their choice as they shape a unique path to their future. Students benefit from a small class size that enables a highly personalised, hands-on educational experience. Here, students evolve into well-rounded, expansive thinkers as they interact closely with world-class faculty and a diverse student body — each a collaborator in learning, in research, and in service. 

The Centre for Career and Professional Advising (CCPA) at Haverford enables students and alumni to prepare for meaningful work. Many consistently find jobs and internship positions by referrals from CareerConnect, campus interviews, career fairs, independent searches, or by networking with the institution’s expansive industry connections.

“The unmatched support that I received from friends, teammates, coaches, faculty and staff gave me everything I needed to pursue any professional opportunity I want to,” shares alumnus Brandon Jenkins who is now working in Los Angeles for Rothschild & Co. in mergers and acquisitions.

Knox College

Knox College is all about the human experience. Its core belief is that the classroom is informed by the communities surrounding it. As such, much of what students learn about the world is taken directly from being on the ground, conducting research and making connections everywhere from local neighbourhoods to global organisations. 

This is only made possible through a dynamic curriculum that mixes inquiry with tradition. A characteristic of every liberal arts college is the broadening of the mind, and Knox is no different. Studies are inherently interdisciplinary, giving learners the fundamental professional skills they need such as writing, reading, calculating, and critical analysis. 

Where Knox thrives, though, is in giving students an avenue to put theory to practice. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of your peers arranging an internship with the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation in West Africa, or having their award-winning play fully realised in a Los Angeles stage production. Here, students lead the change they want to see — and contribute to the communities around them along the way. 

All of this makes for graduates who are determined and confident in what they want out of life. Knox sits in the top 4% of liberal arts colleges producing successful PhD candidates, and their alumni include a Pulitzer Prize winner, a White House advisor, a co-creator of BASIC — and more.

“There is so much you learn at a liberal arts school,” says Creative Writing and Spanish graduate Erin Waldron. “You get very comfortable with ambiguity and grey zones and asking how you know what you know. You get comfortable with things that are a little bit more squishy in life.”

Oregon State University

If you seek an education that prepares you to embark on a lifetime of learning and to adapt to a rapidly changing world, head to the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University. Here, you can find major programmes leading to the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees, with options, in 17 areas. 

Students can also gain a second degree in International Studies. At the postgraduate level, CLA offers master’s degrees in Public Policy, Applied Ethics, Creative Writing, Applied Anthropology, English, Hispanic Studies and History of Science, PhDs in Applied Anthropology and History of Science.

Whichever programme you choose, you will explore critical methods and crucial insights of the arts, humanities and social sciences. The goal is to prepare students to tackle the enduring and contemporary issues facing our world, as well as to thrive in challenging careers and forge a life of achievement, courage, contribution and meaning.

What sets the college apart is its people. Specifically, its team of 336 expert faculty taking on the world’s biggest issues from social justice to food insecurity. This dynamic intellectual community conducts symphonies, design in virtual reality and study the past to forge solutions for the future.

Expect a personalised experience paired with a robust liberal arts college experience, with one faculty member for every 15 undergraduate students.

 *Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International