4 US liberal art colleges that provide a balanced, transformative and global education experience

Goucher College
Source: Goucher College

A liberal arts degree does more than prepare students to make a living. Critical thinking, effective communication, creative problem solving, innovative research, and lifelong learning – all skills a liberal arts degree focuses on – are central to a great career and fulfilling life. After all, students are exposed to a broader range of life experiences that develop them into thinkers that tackle issues with a global impact. 

Whether your interest lies in linguistics or history or science or psychology, a liberal arts programme offers you the flexibility to pursue both. This form of education develops your understanding of diverse topics and subject areas – which trains you to think critically and creatively, develop your social and cultural awareness, interact with a community of like-minded yet diverse individuals, and prepare for a range of careers. 

If you are seeking a balanced, transformative, and global education, consider these four institutions in the US: 

Goucher College

Goucher College 

At Goucher College, learning beyond the classroom is a priority. Source: Goucher College

At Goucher College in Baltimore, students from 43 states and 28 countries are gaining an international perspective to tackle some of the biggest challenges that the world is currently facing. It is one of the earliest liberal art colleges in the U.S. that requires all undergraduate students to study abroad at least once before graduation.

At no additional cost, Goucher offers more than 60 flexible study abroad programmes that incorporate real-world experiences in a global curriculum. Students can study media, arts, and contemporary popular culture in Japan or develop their language skills while travelling to countries such as Spain, France, Costa Rica, or Ecuador. 

Such global education is part of “The Goucher Edge” — the college’s distinctive undergraduate experience that provides every student with an Edge. Not only do students pursue an innovative core curriculum focused on solving complex problems, including social and environmental injustices, they can gain career-related work experience through internships, complete a capstone experience or project, and much more.

Support is available every step of the way. The Student Success Team supports students in navigating their college experience through Success Advisors and Faculty Advisors, who guide students to flourish and succeed at Goucher and beyond. Click here to discover more about Goucher ’s 29 programmes, including its 4+1 graduate programmes that allow students to pursue multiple degrees of education in a condensed time frame with the likes of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Knox College

Knox College

Knox College education provides a liberal arts education that is powerful, unique and colloborative. Source: Knox College

A Knox College education is powerful. Located in Galesburg, Illinois, this is where students receive a “human powered education,” which translates to a community of good people doing hard work that powers the world. It is deeply, richly human, as well as strong, confident and purposeful. 

A Knox education is also rooted in a singular intellectual community, where you can’t just be a spectator. You’ll have a voice in a unique space — few small liberal arts colleges in America have a community as diverse, welcoming, and compelling as Knox. After all, its student body comes from 48 states and 51 countries. 

Everyone contributes and gets to apply theory to practice both in and out of the classroom. A US$2,000 Power of Experience Grant and Immersion Experiences — a focused, hands-on exploration of a single field of study over the course of an entire term — make this possible. Students can explore Japan’s cities, assemble an exhibition in studio art, work at its Green Oaks biological field station, or even complete an internship at a local agency that provides psychological services, to name just a few. 

This approach lets lessons from its 42 majors and 57 minor fields of study come to life. Whether you pursue a BA or a BS, you can wait until the end of your second year to decide what your major field of study will be. 

New College Florida

New College of Florida

At New College Florida, students can participate in local and international exchange programmes to deepen their understanding of the world. Source: New College of Florida

As Florida’s “honours college for the liberal arts,” the New College of Florida (NCF) aims to provide an undergraduate education of the highest calibre to students from all over the world. Set on a beautiful 110-acre campus on sunny Sarasota Bay, NCF offers undergraduate programmes — with more than 40 majors and over 300 courses — where you can even design your own areas of concentration. 

Here, small classes of 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio at NCF result in increased personalised attention, where students are given the space to flourish. Outside of the classroom, students are geared for their dream careers, graduate schools, or fellowships through the Centre for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO), where holistic support from resume coaching to mock interviews are easily accessible. The CEO matches each student with a career counsellor even before they set foot on campus.

The study abroad and exchange programmes propel NCF students to step up their intercultural fluency by participating in hands-on fieldwork. Students typically study in 20 to 25 countries annually while earning transferable credits that count towards their overall degree. 

Local exchanges with partner institutions are also another option that NCF students can pursue, which are equally meaningful in broadening their educational perspectives.

Boston College

Boston College

At Boston College, students receive the knowledge they need to tackle the world’s most pressing issues in true liberal arts fashion. Source: Boston College

Boston College takes social impact seriously. At the Robert J. Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences — the college’s oldest and largest division — students turn their passion into action by earning a qualification from an institution that cares as much as they do. 

Here, galvanised by its mission to address the world’s most urgent problems, its researchers today are formulating tomorrow’s solutions. Across disciplines and degree levels, they examine the complex problems of our contemporary world, propose new solutions and new ways of thinking about religion and culture, science and technology, art and education, business and ethics.

Through Graduate Fellowships, students are given the chance to work with renowned faculty members on research with practical application. They will have access to some of the most prestigious funding opportunities in the country. There are also opportunities to acquire financial support and mentorship for project leadership –– from design through publication. 

Regardless of the path an aspiring researcher chooses –– upon their search for answers, what they find will always be profound. After all, the college is a powerhouse in actively conducting research that betters communities, the nation, and the world. Students who want to shape the world with vision, justice and charity also have plenty of role models to emulate. Faculty members here exemplify some of this generation’s finest independent thinkers and changemakers addressing the challenges of contemporary life. 

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