West Liberty University
Source: West Liberty University

There’s no curriculum broader than a liberal arts one — hence, its ability to produce versatile graduates today’s employers need and will continue to seek tomorrow. Aptly, colleges and universities in the US have enhanced their offerings to accommodate. Some offer comprehensive programmes, while others develop divisions dedicated to producing such powerhouses.

Upon graduating, they go on to serve four out of five employers who prefer new graduates who have an education grounded in the liberal arts, according to a study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

The study also confirmed employers want fresh graduates to possess a broad knowledge base and skills within a specific field — much like presidential nominee Mitt Romney, media tycoon Ted Turner, former CEO of Disney Michael Eisner, Apple inventor Steve Jobs, and several other liberal arts luminaries who have made their mark on the world.

These US institutions know what employers need and are closing the ever-growing skill gaps with the power of a liberal arts education:

West Liberty University

West Liberty University

Students at West Liberty University represent 32 countries. Source: West Liberty University

At West Liberty University (WLU), the road to employability begins with a sense of belonging and community. Located near Wheeling, West Virginia, at the heart of a vibrant metropolitan tri-state area, this university believes when students — from near or far — are accepted with open arms, they develop the confidence to succeed. The process begins by providing a welcoming sense of a home. The Rollie Williams International Center ensures this by organising weekly activities and events that provide cultural enrichment to facilitate adjustment and integration within the campus community. 

Representing 32 countries, students can choose from more than 70 accredited undergraduate majors and graduate programs — offered both online and on campus. However, campus life is a winner for obvious reasons.

“Involvement is the key to getting the most from your college experience. There is something for everyone, whether interests are social, religious, special, professional, departmental, or honorary.”  The University provides many opportunities to become involved in campus life with more than 50 active organizations. 

WLU’s total college experience entails 24/7 access to the Learning and Student Development Center, where students evolve into key members of the WLU community, engaging in programs and services that help them realise not just their potential, but their passion as well. In the Centre for Arts and Education, a multi-faceted hands-on learning laboratory, they explore the arts, creativity, and technology.

The E. Kent and Barbara Culler Robinson Writing Center teaches them to author their discoveries, improving their skills in written communication — essential for those looking to spearhead organisational growth. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree and the MBA program perfectly complement this goal. 

Equally popular choices for those keen on experiencing the Appalachian culture with WLU include the BA in Community Education, BS in Psychology, BS in Biology, BA in Biology, MS in Biology, MA in Biology – Zoo Science, and the MA in Education. A full list of majors can be found here. Already inclined to secure your spot? Click here to apply

Bard College

Bard College

Committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse, Bard college trains tomorrow’s thought leaders by instilling curiosity, a love of learning, and idealism. Source: Bard College

Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences. Committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse, the college trains tomorrow’s thought leaders by instilling curiosity, a love of learning, and idealism.

Located 90 miles north of New York City, its main campus in the Hudson River Valley features state-of-the-art facilities like the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Centre for Science and Computation and the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Centre for the Performing Arts.

With a mission to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education, Bard College offers bachelor of arts, science, and music degrees, with majors in nearly 40 academic programmes; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programmes nationally and internationally. Alternatively, graduates can choose from graduate degrees in 11 programmes.

“We have an incredible array of options and opportunities for students to get involved  in and a vibrant campus life that invites students to be ambitious,” says David Shein, Dean of Studies.

Support, intellectual and social connections, and networking opportunities are offered to students the moment they arrive on campus.

With a dedicated faculty and world-class facilities, they promote the highest standards in health and physical fitness through its athletic offerings such as soccer, basketball, tennis, volleyball, kickball, badminton, and squash.

University of Florida

University of Florida

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences teaches a majority of the University’s core curriculum. Source: UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Facebook

Founded in 1853, the University of Florida’s history began with quality courses in English, history, zoology and Latin. Today, these courses have been enhanced and are currently offered alongside several other topical subjects to maintain the university’s reputation for graduating high achievers.

Many are produced in its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which has been charged with the responsibility to teach a majority of the University’s core curriculum. The College uses a traditional and forward-thinking approach to execute this task, delivering comprehensive courses in the humanities, the social and behavioural sciences, and the physical, natural, and mathematical sciences — amongst its expansive list of 43 majors.

These programmes are housed within the College’s 21 departments and 35 centres, programmes, and institutes. Apart from development within the classroom, opportunities abound beyond their walls as well. For starters, students here are encouraged to engage in research. Meanwhile, others focus their attention on career development sessions alongside an active and illustrious alumni — all of whom are more than willing to guide them through internship and mentoring opportunities.

Little wonder why its graduates evolve into anthropologists, chemists, doctors, economists, financial planners, geologists, historians, information technologists, judges, mathematicians, neurologists, philosophers, radiologists, senators, and virologists. The rest go on to assume several other impactful positions.

Centre College

Centre College

At Centre College, 85% of students study abroad at least once during their programme. Source: Centre College

A Centre College education lasts decades. Today, it’s also known as one of the country’s most innovative. Founded in 1819, Centre College is now ranked 29th on the Most Innovative Schools list by US News and World Report for its improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

One factor explains this liberal arts college’s track record in producing well-rounded, creative and analytical thinkers: the Centre Commitment. All students who meet regular academic and social expectations will be able to gain all of the following: study abroad, have an internship or research opportunity, and graduate in four years.

At Centre College, 85% of students study abroad at least once during their programme. Residential programmes take place in nine countries across the world. More than two out of five participate in undergraduate research projects. Since 2015, Centre students have interned in 24 countries. The national average time to graduation is five years — at Centre, it is four, or the extra year is on them. The US News and World Report ranked Centre in the top 20 of liberal arts colleges that offer the best value in education for this.

Last year, it adopted a new general education curriculum that offers more flexible course options, highlights experiential learning and further emphasises interdisciplinary thinking. It will focus on written and oral communication, supplemented by a capstone experience that integrates skills and knowledge from several academic disciplines. These and more equate to outstanding graduate outcomes. The class of 2019 has a 98% success rate one year after graduation. The majority progress from the Centre’s safe and peaceful campus in Danville, Kentuck to some of the top organisations in the world, such as Google, Dell, the Smithsonian, Walt Disney and more. International students are eligible for merit scholarships that cover up to a full ride at Centre — learn more here.

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