Why liberal arts?

I’d be more than happy to take summer classes if I have the chance, especially in art, philosophy, etc. Are these classes open to international undergraduate students? What are the options and do you need prerequisites? What’s the application process like?

although I need to add that don’t think my uni will be very supportive if I were to apply anywhere as transfer or whatever, as this would clearly show a lack of commitment to my current course/major and to the university (and believe me, they mind), but I suppose if it’s just the summer then it’s non of their business.

Thanks! yeah I actually meant pre-med.

My D fell in love with the LAC philosophy because it was the first time she heard someone talking about a school where she felt they were talking to her. She had some academic areas she was interested in but had no clue what she wanted to do when she grew up. Being at a LAC is allowing her to experience a few different disciplines and find her interests.

I think one big difference between what she is doing and what you are currently doing is she will not be taught how to do a “job”. She is being taught tools like critical thinking, teamwork, expressing herself, communication skills - things that will helpful in in the world regardless of where she ends up. A fair number of students at LACs end up in some form of graduate program. It is not something that works for everyone. Many of her friends from high school question her choice since they feel they need to learn how to do something specific and are convinced she will be unemployed forever once she graduates.

ETA the skills she is learning can be called “soft skills” and many employers say they prefer to hire someone with those because they can teach them the technical aspects of a job. It is much harder to teach soft skills to a new hire on the job.

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Your Uni is not going to penalize you for wanting to transfer. It’s not likely your profs are going to refuse to cooperate with you.

It’s hard to know if you are really interested in pursuing the idea because I am sensing that you are creating obstacles for yourself. Taking a year off to think, wondering if you’ll be too old, your college not cooperating… If you aren’t sure, that’s fine, but don’t find reasons to put stumbling blocks in the way before you even begin looking further.

Can I suggest you just look at a summer course catalog, just to get an idea? Boston University, as an example, offers many summer classes. You can look at their catalog. It will tell you what, if any, prerequisite courses you need. Applying would be like applying to anything else. You might have to submit transcripts of your current course work, and grades. You can always email any admissions office and ask questions: I’m at university in the UK. I’d like to study at BU this summer with an eye on possibly transferring. What do I need to do? Different colleges have different criteria.

@Publisher , I wasn’t aware that many LACs offer summer courses for college credit to students already in college. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Another thought is whether your uni has study abroad? You could take a semester or a year of study in the US. It might extend your time at the UK uni for an additional year but you don’t seem deterred by additional time at university.


Thanks! I definitely agree that the liberal arts emphasize transferrable skills and lifelong learning, and that’s why I want it. Many students at my uni are deciding on potential career paths and finding internships as early as first semester of freshman year, which to me makes absolutely no sense. I can’t imagine it in years - it’ll be sooo boring to just do linguistics.

That said, linguistics major anywhere does come with plenty transferrable (academic) skills (maybe less in critical thinking, and not really in teamwork or self-expression), and most linguistics majors enter a wide range of careers. but I don’t feel that that’s for me. Because although my mom has a point in that these “soft skills” can be acquired elsewhere, my problem that is being shy and introverted, I’m not really motivated to get involved in non-academic settings, while I do have passion and curiosity for learning, which I feel is hard to maintain if you’re in a rigid academic setting, and don’t want to lose that.

and if I luckily don’t, then I don’t mind applying next year, when I will hopefully get to know myself and understand the liberal arts more. so I guess the question remains, whether that delay would put me at a disadvantage admission as well as academic wise.

In addition to the schools that OP mentioned (Skidmore College, Sarah Lawrence, Kenyon, & Williams College), check out Scripps College (part of a 5 school consortium in California), Vassar College, Amherst College, Middlebury College (gorgeous setting in the state of Vermont), Davidson College which has a nearby lake (Lake Norman) in North Carolina.

Although not an LAC, the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont is set on a beautiful lake (Lake Champlain).

Brown University and the nearby RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) may be of interest to you.

I have not checked whether or not these schools offer a summer program open to visiting students, but that can be done on the internet.

Thanks for pointing out my limitations. it’s always great to take in different perspectives. that’s why I ask here for advice and I wholeheartedly appreciate it. the thing is I feel that these obstacles are very real (one of my former professors was very not happy when I changed major a year ago), but I can’t know for sure, same way I don’t know for sure if transferring really is looking forward and not backward at my regrets from high school. or perhaps correcting my mistakes is a way of looking forward. I just don’t know I feel like I’m drowning in fear and self-doubt…

So do some research. Decide if transferring to a college in the US is right for you. But don’t let fear of the unknown guide your decisions.

Ok. I can’t say how much I appreciate your advice. I’ll try. thank you so much.

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Just a quick comment: based on my daughter’s first semester at Kenyon, my impression is that Kenyon is not conservative at all, it’s rather liberal, although not ultra-liberal/left as some other LACs (if you meant politically conservative). It also attracts a lot of artsy kids, like my daughter and some of her friends. Strong drama and creative writing, plus a good arts program, too, as far as I know. One of her friends is taking mostly pre-med related courses (bio and chemistry) and is very happy with the sciences there, too.


I agree, Kenyon isn’t conservative. My D nearly ended up there and she is liberal for sure.

OP, based on what you describe, there are a bunch of wonderful colleges you might consider. Some of the ones already mentioned are ridiculously hard to get into, like Williams and Brown. Schools with a creative leaning that might be good for a quieter student could possibly be most of those already mentioned. I’d look at the Little Ivies in this list, though some will definitely feel a bit more creative and arty than others. Little Ivies - Wikipedia

Also consider Oberlin and Carleton in the Midwest, the Claremont Consortium colleges, and women’s colleges such as Smith, Bryn Mawr, Wellesley and Mt. Holyoke. There is a range of selectivity within all of these schools. There are too many to choose from!


Summer Session - Wesleyan University


Skidmore College, for example, does offer summer sessions open to visiting students. Oddly, however, on-campus housing is not available to visiting students. This is unusual & may be related to Covid-19 (coronavirus) precautions.

Skidmore’s 2021 summer sessions are:

Tuesday, June 1 through Friday, July 2, 2021;

Tuesday, July 6 through Friday, August 6, 2021;

or a full summer session from Tuesday, June 1 through Friday, August 6, 2021.

Registration opens March 1, 2021, but courses & course descriptions are not yet available.

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I love LACs as much as the next person, and we have experience of both the UK & the US models, so I get what the OP is talking about.


The OP’s mother is not on board- and it will cost the family at least $200,000 (and most likely rather more) for this exercise. Without any info that says ‘yes, we have that kind of money & my parents are happy to throw it at an undergrad art degree’, all of this is pure fantasy.

OP, you are almost to Halfway Hall. You chose linguistics for a reason- put your energy into researching the parts of linguistics that are genuinely interesting to you. Find a summer program that relates to the part that is interesting to you - at a US university or anywhere in the world- and get your parents to agree to support that. Look at doing an Erasmus scheme.


I missed the post about her mom. Thanks for mentioning that.

Without a parent who is willing to commit that kind of money, the idea isn’t going to happen.

I think if you are unhappy there isn’t much point in staying where you are. If you do plan to live in England when you are an adult/work there, I am not sure that a (likely) Northeastern American LAC will set you up great for job opportunities in the international market. If you want to live in NYC/DC/Boston or a place like it, however, I would advise you to reach out to some admissions officers and start inquiring that way :slight_smile:

Thank you! Sorry I meant a more traditional curriculum, with more distribution requirements? I didn’t actually look too much into Kenyon but will do definitely.

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Thanks very much. It’s great to have a different perspective.

Sorry for the confusion but the fact is my mom (and dad) will support me financially. she loves me too much what can I say. she just wants to be sure that it’s really 100% what I want, which I am not. I’m in the middle ground, and there’s really no one else in my life beside my parents that can advise me on this. so I truly, deeply appreciate you guys for all the advice and perspectives.

As for linguistics, I did choose it for 2 reasons - science was too hard and I gave up on it (stupid mistake now I see); and as an English non-native, I’ve taken a rather unintuitive perspective to the language and I do like bits of linguistics (phonetics, acquisition, psycholinguistics). But, I can’t help questioning if linguistics is the ultimate answer, if I might have the chance to find and do something I love, the chance I could’ve taken in high school when I was an inch from applying to an LAC. part of the reason I’m doing this is to try and undo my regrets, and that puts me in danger of bias and wishful thinking.

So I agree with @Lindagaf that at this point I should keep doing research and try to figure out the next best step, although if I were to meet the April 1 deadline then time is a bit of an issue as well. Anyhow, thanks so much for all your suggestions.

Do you mind maybe sharing a bit more about your experience of the UK & US models? thanks!

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