By: Cathy Poston

To be successful in the workplace of the future, individuals will need more than the technical training that is the essential core of education.

It is what many often refer to as a liberal arts education, according to Robert Harris when he wrote, “On the purpose of a Liberal Arts Education.”

 The definition of liberal arts is; the academic course of instruction at a college intended to provide general knowledge and comprising the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, as opposed to professional or technical subjects.

 A liberal arts education teaches you how to think.  You will develop strength of mind and ordered intellect according to Harris.

 The diverse body of knowledge you will gain from a liberal arts education, together with the tools of examination and analysis that you will learn to use, will enable you to develop your own opinions, attitudes, values and beliefs, based not upon the authority of parents, peers or professors, and not upon ignorance, whim or prejudice but upon your own worthy apprehension, examination and evaluation of argument and evidence per Harris.

 Harris said, a liberal arts education teaches you how to learn. You will be able to understand new material more easily, to learn faster and more thoroughly and permanently.

 Old knowledge clarifies new knowledge. It allows you to see things as a whole. A liberal arts education enhances wisdom. It will help you see and feel your defect and change yourself, to be a better citizen, human being said Harris.

 But some believe that a liberal arts education prepares you for nothing in life.

There are those that say a liberal arts education does not really prepare you for the real world.

The concept of a liberal arts education is almost nonexistent outside of the US. One of the biggest critiques is the cost, but it is time consuming according to Emily Noonan of the Wall Street Journal Blog.

 According to Noonan, in her blog posted Nov. 2, 2010, “A liberal arts education may prepare you for conversation at a dinner party, but what about a job?”

 The hands-on trades always be there as well, builders, mechanics, hairdressers. It is diversity that makes the world go round.

 A liberal arts education makes you a better teacher.  It will contribute to your happiness. Knowledge makes you smarter and smarter is happier, Harris.

“A liberal arts education helps students prepare you for a master’s degree. They are foundation courses that can be applied to many different fields,” said Vanessa McMasters the transfer advisor at Camden County College.

“Liberal Arts colleges are typically small, private institutions and are great for students who do not like large settings. There are also more scholarship monies available for liberal arts colleges,” McMasters said.

According to a US Department of Labor report, 80 percent of children starting kindergarten in 2010 will eventually enter jobs that don’t exist today

It will ultimately depend upon what you want to do in life on what type of education you choose. The decision is yours to make.

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