When asked whether young people today should go to school to gain specific job skills, a high-level educator at a prestigious university said, “They should enroll in a liberal arts college so they can learn how to think.”
This is the myth of the liberal arts education: that liberal arts teach you to think, but technical disciplines don’t.
Well, as a B.S. chemical engineer, I can tell you that the assumption that a specialized or technical education does not teach you to think is wrong.
Engineers, in particular, master problem solving skills that serve them in virtually every area of work and life.
What a liberal arts education DOES do that a technical education doesn’t is make you better read and more well rounded.
When I went to college in the 1970s, most majors required you to take only 8 or 9 courses in that subject out of a total of 32 courses required for an undergraduate degree.
But as chemical engineers, 25 out of our 32 courses had to be math, science, and engineering … so yes, we were less well-rounded than the liberal arts majors.
But you don’t need to go to college to become well read and well educated.
You can do that by visiting your local library and becoming a voracious reader … for free … and save yourself $100,000 in tuition.
Dear Reader, what kind of education do YOU have — technical or liberal arts?
Which do you think serves a person better in today’s world, and why?