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A Liberal Arts Education Pays Off

A liberal arts education sounds old-fashioned, but it has thrived for over 20 centuries and will continue to provide a foundation for success in the years ahead.

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Given rapid change, technological advancement and increased globalization, the critical-thinking, problem-solving and communication skills you’ll acquire through a Lutheran college’s liberal arts education may well be the most important talents you will develop as an undergraduate.

Nearly all our students are introduced to the liberal arts starting in their first year. One such introduction exists at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and is called Principia, a core course taken by all first-year students. Each year, Principia addresses a single issue that has both historical and contemporary significance.

For example, one year the topic was A Just Society. Senior professors from all academic areas participated, ensuring conversation from all points of view. Students studied classical texts and perspectives and then applied these in analyzing current issues. It’s a values-centered approach to problem solving, in which students learn to understand their own ethical stances in light of those of the classical thinkers.

A Liberal Arts Education Offers You:

  • Small classes, where you’ll be expected to be prepared and discuss the material intelligently.
  • Demanding reading lists, including both primary sources and contemporary analyses.
  • Close interaction with and support from professors who expect you to do your best.
  • Writing and rewriting many papers, from three pages to thesis-length.
  • Course requirements that expose you to the hard sciences, literature, social sciences, history and philosophy, as well as to your chosen major field.
  • Overseas and off-campus study options.
  • The opportunity to achieve competency in a foreign language.
  • Abundant opportunities for independent study and research in collaboration with professors.

Outside class

With a Liberal Arts Degree, You Will Be Able To:

  • Critically analyze and synthesize information and ideas.
  • Construct arguments, drawing from several sources.
  • Persuade, both orally and in writing.
  • Understand relationships among different disciplines, ideas or historical trends.
  • Be comfortable with diversity, and understand how cultural and ethnic backgrounds shape perspectives.
  • Think creatively and independently.
  • Exercise self-discipline, and meet and exceed high expectations.

Many of these abilities focus on the use of information – gathering it, sifting through it, evaluating it, organizing it and presenting it effectively. Success in the information age will require strong evaluative and analytical skill development.

Future Employers Notice

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Employers value the broad analytical and communication skills young adults acquire through a liberal arts education. Recruiters look closely at the way prospective employees approach work situations. They look for the ability to:

  • Work through multi-faceted problems.
  • Organize complex information into coherent categories or manageable steps.
  • Pinpoint key or underlying issues.
  • Solve problems creatively, challenging “business as usual.”
  • Work hard to meet high professional standards.
  • Recognize the dynamics, culture or issues that could affect a group or relationship.
  • Adapt easily to changing situations or environments.

Candidates who offer a broad range of talents, present good communications skills and bring a thoughtful approach to their work are most likely to find career success.