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Value of Liberal Arts Education

Value of a Liberal Arts Education

CSB and SJU provide a "liberal arts education." What does that mean? A "liberal arts education" is an education aimed at "creating a life." But, will I be able to get a job? Life, liberal arts, jobs, careers! These are some great topics to think about. Students may wonder at times if their studies have anything to do with the world of work. Should they? Is it the only thing to be thinking about?

We would have our "heads in the sand" if we didn't think about life after CSB/SJU and what kind of work opportunities we may want to pursue. Thinking about the kind of person you want to be, developing a broad set of skills, and creating ideas about the kind of life you want to have is related and just as important. Read on...

Quiz: What do the following CSB/SJU graduates in each list have in common?
Clue: all of the people in List A had the same major; all of the people in List B had the same major.



Assistant Manager Marketing Assistant
Marketing Executive National Sales Manager
National Recruiter Human Resource Director
Psychologist Account Manager
Buyer's Assistant Assistant Store Manager
Customer Services Support Customer Sales and Service Representative

Answer: The people in List A graduated with a major in Communication;
the people in List B with a major in Management.

How about this list? Try again.



Manager Attorney
Reporter East European Marketing Manager
National Director of Sales Training Operations Manager
Attorney Research Analyst
Human Resource Administrator Account Executive
PC Technical Analyst Realtor

Answer: The people in List A graduated with a major in English;
the people in List B graduated with a major in Political science.

As you look at the various lists, it seems interesting that people holding the same undergraduate major could be involved in such diverse occupations as those above. It also seems interesting that graduates from different majors may be working in similar occupations. Well, it all goes back to that broad, liberal arts education you are receiving here at CSB and SJU. Hopefully, you're learning and developing a variety of skills that can be transferred to a variety of settings. We want you to be thinking of your development as a "whole" person, not just what you might do for work.

Let's take a look at some of those skills you're developing:

  • Effective communication through speaking, writing, and listening
  • Research and investigation
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Human relations and interpersonal skills
  • Sense of social responsibility and ethical sensitivity
  • Approach problem solving in an interdisciplinary manner
  • Are flexible and adaptable
  • Possess the ability to learn
  • Possess the ability to work on a team

How does the above list compare with what employers are looking or in today's employee?

Due to the changing nature of the workplace, employers want employees who possess these skills/attributes:

  • Able to write and speak well
  • Possess a cultural awareness
  • Display values and ethics
  • Have work experience or an internship
  • Able to work on a team
  • Are flexible and adaptable
  • Know how to learn
  • Show initiative
  • Have the ability to translate one's background into a work setting
  • Have the ability to change tasks
  • Can deal with and resolve complex issues
  • Possess an essential knowledge base and an ability to apply their knowledge practically in the workplace

So, what does this all mean? What's the "bottom line"?

  1. You are learning skills that will be transferable to a variety of occupations and situations.
  2. You will need to be able to articulate what skills you're learning from your academic major as well as other experiences.
  3. Don't get caught up with the stereotypes that exist about what you can do with your major. From the quizzes above, you know that graduates with one major can work in a variety of occupations. There isn't always a direct relationship between major and career.
  4. Use this formula to help you: M + W = E. Your major + work experience = increased chances of finding employment.

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