As you begin your pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be confronted with numerous decisions about colleges and majors. There are massive schools with tens of thousands of undergraduate students and tiny schools with barely more than 1,000 students. You’ll find professional schools, technical schools, vocational schools, business schools and research institutions. If you haven’t already considered earning your bachelor’s degree from a liberal arts college, it’s something to think about now. There are several benefits of choosing a liberal arts school, from personal attention to the development of valuable and versatile skills.

Traits of Liberal Arts Colleges

Most liberal arts schools tend to be small, and not just in total enrollment numbers. Their characteristic small class sizes, which allow for more individual attention throughout your education, happen to be one of the most popular features of a liberal arts education.

Liberal arts schools tend to be private rather than publicly funded, The College Board reported, although that’s not always the case. Many maintain some form of religious affiliation, though not all do.

Despite their private status, most liberal arts schools don’t have the high price tag that accompanies an education from many private universities. Liberal arts colleges also tend to be quite generous with their financial aid packages – more so even than many public state schools, CBS News reported. A year’s worth of tuition at one of the most affordable high-quality liberal arts colleges in the nation can be as low as $12,800.

The typical liberal arts college is a four-year institution. While you may earn your bachelor’s degree in liberal arts generally, you may also have the option to choose a major or focus area in a subject like history, literature, philosophy, theology, English or foreign languages.

What to Expect from a Liberal Arts Education

Don’t let the name “liberal arts college” mislead you. Students do study artsy topics like music and literature and subjects in the humanities, like history and languages. However, they also develop a thorough background in math and science, according to The College Board.

In many ways, it’s not so much what subjects of study a liberal arts education includes that are important, but instead what skills you will cultivate as you earn your degree. At a liberal arts college, you won’t just learn the technical, professional or research skills you need to succeed in a specific career. You’ll take courses in many disciplines that help you develop abilities like thinking critically, speaking eloquently and writing clearly. You will learn to analyze and communicate information well, which are skills that numerous employers in countless industries find valuable.

A liberal arts college isn’t the right choice for every student. However, for those who are seeking a versatile education that will help them further skills they can use throughout a wide range of careers, academic environments and life situations, going to a liberal arts school may be an excellent decision.

Also see:

The Top 10 Most Affordable Liberal Arts Colleges