What are Liberal Arts Colleges?

When you think of college you might think of something like this…


Photo by osu.edu

or this…


Ok. Well what if I told you that there is a whole breed of colleges that are neither a part of the Ivy League nor are a giant state school whose sports teams feed into the NFL, MLB, etc.? This mysterious breed of colleges is referred to as liberal arts colleges!

Now the first thing you may think is “but I am not an artist…” However, you should know that liberal arts are not about painting or dancing. A liberal arts education is about a wholesome education that encourages students to study a wide range of subjects. Generally, at a liberal arts institution, students are expected to take courses in math, biological and social sciences, as well as the humanities. This is the model despite the fact that some subjects of study do not seem related to your major. In this way, a liberal arts education puts a true emphasis on learning for the sake of learning.

You should really consider researching liberal arts colleges when creating a college list. I would highly recommend it especially if you are undecided in what you would like to study, which I am sure many of you are. Not only is a liberal arts college great for exploring your passions but they are also known for providing great senses of community. Liberal arts colleges tend to be small so you have the opportunity to create relationships with your professors and have strong bonds with your peers.

In addition, despite the fact that liberal arts colleges are under the radar, some of them are just as competitive to get into as Ivy League universities (Amherst College: 14% acceptance rate, Claremont McKenna College: 11% acceptance rate). This is just proof in the pudding that you are not compromising rigor of education by attending a liberal arts institution.

So broaden your horizons and look into liberal arts institutions! You will discover that there are varying acceptance rates that are high and low so don’t be discouraged. You will find the right liberal arts college for you!


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  • Myka Yamasaki

    Myka will be attending Occidental College (located in Los Angeles) in the fall and is very excited! She is looking forward to reflecting on her high school experience to help others do their best on the SAT/ACT and in college admissions. She loves cats, food, and friends.

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

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