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Why a liberal arts degree is the ideal option for multi-talented teens

By Tania Bagwan,

Providing a buffet of subjects to choose from, a liberal arts programme provides a unique interdisciplinary learning experience.

A liberal arts degree programme is an interdisciplinary programme which offers a foundational level of knowledge across multiple areas of study.

Gone are the days when education was limited strictly to just science, arts and commerce. In today’s world, mere knowledge and skills related to a single field are not enough. Instead, diverse experience which ranges through different fields is highly valued in the job market since the nature of many jobs today tends to be highly interdisciplinary.  

Now, youngsters may want to pursue STEM, but also explore Russian literature simultaneously, or they may want to get into fashion designing while pursuing sports. Although these options are great, they can act as a double-edged sword by confusing teens about the path to choose. If your teen finds himself in such a situation, then a liberal arts degree might be the perfect option for him. Here is all you need to know about it.  

What is a Liberal Arts programme? 
A liberal arts degree programme is essentially an interdisciplinary programme which seeks to offer a foundational level of knowledge across multiple areas of study. These programmes are designed specifically with the intent of allowing students to explore numerous subjects simultaneously while weaving together their similarities and developing skills in a range of fields. Unlike traditional programmes, this one does not focus merely on developing skills for a particular field. Instead, it places more emphasis on sharpening one’s research skills, creativity and expression, critical thinking and writing abilities along with the academic side of the subjects. A Liberal Arts programme includes subjects ranging from humanities and social sciences to natural sciences and formal sciences. Students can be selective with the courses they choose and opt for different majors and minors which are not necessarily complimentary to each other. For example, a student opting for a major in a formal science subject like logistics can choose a minor in a social science like gender studies. 

Popular liberal arts colleges in India 
With the ever-increasing popularity of liberal arts, educational institutes solely dedicated to the stream have started emerging around the country. Here are some of the most well-known ones. 

Ashoka University, New Delhi: Located in the National Capital, Ashoka University was established in 2014. It draws in applicants who aspire to cultivate skills and knowledge through an interdisciplinary approach. It has a highly competitive admission process. Students who have completed their junior college with a minimum of 45% are eligible to apply. The degree awarded after this 4-year course is a BA in Liberal Arts.  

Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts (SSLA), Pune: SSLA finds its home in the Oxford of the East, Pune and offers a highly sought-after liberal arts degree (BA or BSc.) An entrace exam called SET (Symbiosis Entrance Test) is first conducted, which tests applicants on a wide range of subjects from maths to general knowledge. Those who successfully meet the minimum score (which varies annually) are then get called in for an interview. One is eligible to apply after junior college, with a minimum percentage of 45. It is a 4-year-long course 

Bennett University, Greater Noida: What makes Bennett University’s BA in Liberal Arts degree unique is that it gives students the opportunity to curate their own curriculum through a diverse range of electives. The 3-year-course is offered with an additional one-year PG diploma option, if students wish to pursue it. Similar to the rest, eligibility criteria include a minimum 45% in Class XII.  

Benefits of a liberal arts course 

  • It introduces teens to a variety of fields. Employers today highly value individuals who have knowledge and skills which transcend a simple job description. Transferable skills are a huge asset to companies. 
  • Teens not sure about their interests can have experience studying different fields and then choose the one which appeals to them the most. Also, they have the option of changing their field to another later as they have an interdisciplinary foundation. 
  • It gives the opportunity for teens to develop their hobbies which they might not necessarily choose to translate into a career. A traditional course would limit the scope of this.