As you narrow down your college choice, you may realize that your decision comes down to two general options: go to a big research school, or choose a small liberal arts college. Even if you're undecided in your major, both focused, core-based academic programs and broader liberal arts-focused curriculums offer their own advantages and disadvantages. And in order to make your decision easier, there are a few surefire signs to look out for that will help you figure out whether a certain school is the best fit for you.
Sure, the college process itself is a long and arduous process that very, very few people would want to ever repeat. But narrowing down the type of school that's best for you either before you apply or after you get accepted can ease up on a lot of the stress. Choosing a college means choosing where you'll be spending the next four years of your life. (No pressure, though — choosing to transfer schools is 100 percent OK).
While you can definitely make the most of your college experience no matter where you end up (maybe you'll attend a women's college, or maybe you'll decided to go to school in-state), selecting a school that best matches your personality will set you up for an easier transition into university life. If these signs apply to you, chances are going to a liberal arts school is the right choice for you.
1. You have school spirit... but not in the most conventional ways
If you choose to attend a small liberal arts college instead of a big state school that has liberal arts programs, be warned that typical school spirited events like Homecoming and sports games may not be a huge deal at your school. Never fear: in their stead are often fun, unique school traditions.
2. You're either ambivalent to or uninterested in Greek life
While some liberal arts schools do have a Greek presence on their campuses, frats and sororities don't typically have as much of a presence as they do at larger schools. Instead, look forward to house parties, dorm get-togethers, and student group mixers.
3. You want to learn ALL THE THINGS
Maybe you won't find a class on underwater Icelandic basket weaving, but the broad spectrum of liberal arts courses means that you'll have the opportunity to take a lot of untraditional classes.
4. You prefer having more academic freedom
Although most colleges have some sort of requirements, it's likely that you will have more room in your schedule to take classes that simply interest you, instead of having to stick to classes directly related to your major or minor.
5. You like small seminars better than big lectures
Fewer students means fewer classmates means more personal time with professors and more opportunities to speak up in intimate classes.
6. You're not sure what you want to pursue after college
If the thought of deciding your career path as soon as you step foot into your first day of college freaks you out, take a deep breath. A liberal arts degree provides you with endless opportunities to explore all your interests, so you just may stumble upon your dream job.
7. You'd like to improve your communication skills (without getting a communications degree)
English classes, writing courses, and even the increased opportunities to speak in front of groups of people all work together to make your communication skills as sharp as can be — no matter what your major.
8. You're looking for a smaller community — that isn't limited to people in your field of study
By nature, smaller schools make it more likely for you to connect with people outside your major in classes you take just for fun. On top of that, small classes make it all the more probable that you'll actually form bonds with the people who sit around you.
9. You want to create your own major, or have a specialized field of interest
If you want to combine different fields of study to create your own major (or you just want to create a unique mix of majors, minors, and concentrations), the less rigid requirements at liberal art schools make it much easier to do so. Advisors also work closely with students to create their perfect, customized college experience.
10. Your goal is to achieve a well-rounded education
A personalized college education in a small community will prepare you for the real world better than you can imagine. And you'll have so much fun in the process.
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