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Need tell me why Liberal Arts Colleges.

Rookie56Rookie56 Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
edited October 2011 in Swarthmore College
Some Liberal Arts Colleges, especially Swarthmore College , are very expensive and not easy to get in, but I heard some kids decide to go there instead of State Colleges or some finest universities.
Someone be kind to teach me why they choose Liberal Arts Colleges? Are they good for Arts only? How about Engineering and Business.
Example why people denied Duke for Engineer or University of Maryland for Business and choose Swarthmore?
I also heard that people choose Liberal Arts over Ivies College.
I do not understand why? I did not know the advantage of Liberal Colleges. Please teach me something, do not yell or ignore because I do not know. Any WEB links I can read?
I am parent, not student.
Post edited by Rookie56 on

Replies to: Need tell me why Liberal Arts Colleges.

  • SyzygysaigonSyzygysaigon Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Swarthmore, in particular, offered several advantages that the Ivy Leagues I was looking at did not offer. It had a smaller student-faculty ratio than Georgetown, my original first choice, meaning that it is much more likely that I would get to know the teachers there. They offer seminars where a small amount of students can discuss a topic with a professor. This more personable environment can be more attractive than being in a larger school.

    In addition, the academics at these liberal art schools can frequently be as good as Ivy Leagues, so you are not sacrificing quality of education. I know that Swarthmore just had a lot of what I was looking for in terms of classes (their linguistics courses just seemed superior to Georgetown's and covered material that I thought was more important and relevant). Some people may not like the attitude present at Ivy Leagues. For instance, I know that big Ivy League schools can be a great platform for people to project their views. Liberal art schools are not as well known and do not reach as large a crowd so I assume that there is less competition to try and disseminate one's views to young college students... but that is speculation on my part.

    It just depends on what you are looking for. I liked what Swarthmore had to offer more than Georgetown, which is on par with the official Ivy League schools. However, maybe some people do not like a school like Swarthmore. It really does depend.
  • notanengineernotanengineer Registered User Posts: 1,125 Senior Member
    LACs are about as expensive as their Ivy/etc. private peers. State universities are of course cheaper, and that's probably a decision you have to make on a case-by-case basis. Some people might find an LAC (or Ivy League, or other top private) to be cheaper with financial aid, or they might be full pay and get a full ride at their state flagship. Each type of college can be compared, but finances can always be the absolute determining factor.
    Someone be kind to teach me why they choose Liberal Arts Colleges? Are they good for Arts only? How about Engineering and Business.
    The "liberal arts" technically include things like history and English as well as mathematics and the natural sciences. LACs are good for those, yes. Most LACs don't have Engineering or Business (Swarthmore is relatively distinct in that it does have Engineering), but many others have 3-2 programs with other universities (like Dartmouth or Columbia) so students can get a BA at their LAC and a BS in Engineering in 5 years. While there aren't majors like Accounting at LACs, you can still go into business if you desire. Economics is a popular major at most LACs, and they have a good track record for grad/business schools (this is in part due to the fact that some people treat LACs as pre-grad schools, so many people who attend LACs plan on doing post-grad studies anyway, which accounts for the higher rates of post-grad studies).

    In a technical sense, LACs are not "pre-professional," but that isn't a blanket statement. LACs do well in med and law school acceptances even though most don't have Engineering or Business.

    Why would people choose LACs? Low student-to-faculty ratios and small student body mean small class sizes, so professors will know you, be able to read your papers very critically, etc. Classes are more discussion-based than lectures. A lot of this stuff can be found at other schools, like the Ivies, but you can think of it this way: at a large school, even at an Ivy which has a lower student-to-faculty ratio than many LACs, your intro classes at least will be very large. At a 1,500-student school, it's unlikely that even something like Intro to Psych would have 150 students in it - because that would be 10% of the student population, in one class that is probably running both semesters. So the likelihood of having large lectures for anything other than your very popular intro courses is very small.

    That said, LACs aren't for everyone. People very interested in the sciences might find more resources at other schools, might prefer lectures to discussions, might want a larger student body, etc.
  • akbearakbear Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    Small class size, small community, and the first focus of professors are undergraduate students. For large universities, the prority of professors are research funding, graduate students and then undergraduate students.
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