Comparing universities vs. liberal arts colleges

Comparing universities vs. liberal arts colleges

August 23, 2019 10 By Stanley Isaacs


– [Voiceover] We’re here
today with Sean Logan, Director of College Counseling
at Phillips Academy. Sean, can you tell
students a little bit more about the difference between a universtiy versus a liberal arts college. – [Voiceover] Sure, I
get this question a lot from my students. I think the quick answer to
this and the simple answer is that a university while it also has a four-year undergraduate program, and a Bachelor of Arts, or
Bachelor of Science program, it also has graduate
schools attached to it. Things like business, and law, medical schools and so forth. Schools like Ohio State,
or University of Michigan, Stanford University and so forth are universities that have both the undergraduate and all
the graduate programs. Liberal arts colleges, on the other hand, tend to be smaller schools, and only focusing on
undergraduate degrees, so that four-year undergraduate degree. I used to work at Occidental
College in Los Angeles, and Williams College in Massachusetts. Both of those schools
were undergraduate schools with about 2,000 students, and all of their focus being on the students who were there. Again, the degree you get
is a four-year degree, but they didn’t have
any graduate programs. That’s the simple answer, but there are more
differences between them. That doesn’t actually hold
true for every school, but in general that works. At a university, for instance, they tend top have very broad curriculum. For instance, within say
a biology department, there may be four or five different biology majors within
that biology department. Whereas, at a liberal arts institution, it typically might be
biology, and biochem, and that’s it. The curriculum is more specialized, a little bit more focused say in a liberal arts school,
not quite as many options. In a university, you can also get pre-professional degrees, so things like architecture, engineering, and so forth are opportunities that universities give you. Whereas, liberal arts schools, again, focus in the liberal arts. They will say that their strengths are that they teach critical thinking, and critical writing skills, basically lifetime learning skills. Coming at it from a liberal arts degree, again, those schools typically feel like they prepare you for about anything in the world as it is now constituted. Other sorts of things. Universities. They’re tend to gonna have
a lot of research money coming into them. Students could get undergraduate research opportunities there in the sciences, the humanities, the social sciences. Liberal arts schools certainly have that opportunity as well, but probably not quite to the same extent. But not always. There are some liberal arts schools that have phenomenal
research opportunities so you need to look closely. Universities also tend to have, again, within their curriculum, their style of teaching, especially in the first two years, tends to be larger class sizes maybe two to four hundred
students in a lecture hall in a discussion kind of section with teaching assistants doing sort of the smaller discussions. Whereas, again, liberal arts colleges tend to be, again, maybe 18
to 20 students in a class. They’re gonna have very
discussion-based courses, and styles of learning. It’s a bit to what the student feels like is their best learning opportunity. Liberal art schools and universities are both gonna have a pretty wide array of opportunities both extracurricularly in terms of theater,
music, arts, athletics, those sorts of things. But, universities tend to
have Division I sports. Small liberal art schools tend to be sort of a Division III type program. There’s a lot of differences there. Both are really well-respected degrees. One is not considered
stronger than another. – [Voiceover] Great!
Sean, thank you so much.