Athletes have unique abilities that go well beyond the classroom and their respective playing fields. It's been in the NCAA promotional commercials for years: "There are over 400,000 NCAA student-athletes, and most of us will go pro in something other than sports."
But before you've even reached the college level, what does your choice in schools mean to your career and your ability to compete in athletics. The average high-school athlete excels at more than just their sport, meaning it would be irresponsible to pick a university or college based only on sports.
Realistically, your passions off of the field will be the foundation of your career after sports. Whether it is a musical talent like playing the guitar, the ability to perform in theater, or a voice like an angel, athletes should consider more than just their statlines when they start their recruiting journey.
As athletes prepare to search for athletic and academic opportunities beyond high school, it is important to understand that big time universities are not your only option for continuing your athletic or academic endeavors. For athletes who are also artistically inclined, it might be best to research athletics in liberal arts schools for higher education.
If you are an athlete interested in more creative programs of study in college, keep reading to understand your options for growth and support in all your talent niches.
What Is A Liberal Arts School?
The goal of liberal arts schools is to create individuals who value free thought. A curriculum at a liberal arts school focuses more on students who are multifaceted rather than those who want to focus on one core career or academic content area.
The core academics, although they vary from college to college, focus on humanities, social science, and science. This includes literature, philosophy, anthropology, economics, natural sciences, and many more dynamic alternatives for a well-rounded education.
Liberal arts schools want to foster growth in their students in a way that makes them knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects and generate skills that transfer to multiple scenarios of career choices.
In short, a liberal arts education will prepare student athletes with real life skills that can be applied to a lot of career disciplines. This is especially helpful for young adults who may not be sure of what they would like to do after college.
Public/State School vs. Liberal Arts School
The most prominent difference in a liberal arts college education rather than a large university is size. The campus and class sizes will all be smaller and provide more opportunities for one-on-one support from professors.
If you are a student who is not fond of large lecture halls and anonymity within your school, liberal arts colleges provide much more classroom discussions rather than lecture-based classes.
Bottom line: Your professors are going to know your name and learn what you need to succeed.
Liberal arts colleges focus on teaching students to learn how to learn rather than throwing information at you in a large lecture hall.
Athletes who are seeking a more intimate college experience that fosters individual learners rather than a one size fits all approach in a large lecture hall would thrive in a liberal arts college.
What Majors Are Offered At A Liberal Arts School?
Undergraduate studies are the focus of a liberal arts education. If you are looking for opportunities for graduate studies, there are liberal arts colleges that offer them, but their bread and butter is undergraduate.
The scope of majors offered at a university versus a liberal arts school also tends to differ. For example, at a university your major might be English, but there are multiple distinct types of English majors offered at a university. These can include creative writing, colonial English, Linguistics, etc.
A liberal arts college will have much fewer extensions of a single major and rather focus on providing necessary skills across all contents of English to prepare students for the real world.
Tip From The Author: Make sure you do your research when researching liberal arts schools and remember their focus is on creating critical thinkers and critical writers in their specified area of study. The goal is to prepare students for all facets of career options under their specific major.
Do Liberal Arts Schools Have Sports Teams?
For athletes who are looking for a smaller school to continue their higher education goals, do not discount liberal arts school. There are a variety of schools that offer Division I, II, and III athletic opportunities.
The most popular sport for division I athletics at liberal arts schools is basketball. Do not discount your sport though, it is important to do your due diligence and research the best options for your sport.
Check out this page to see some of the Liberal Arts colleges hosting Virtual Visits right now!
Regardless of whether you plan to attend a large university or a smaller liberal arts school, you need to research and reach out to these schools to determine if they are the right fit for you.
No matter which fit is right for you, this is where you are going to pour your blood, sweat, tears, and brains into the next four years of your athletic and academic careers. There are countless options of where to continue with your growth as a person and athlete. Do not count out smaller liberal arts institutions.