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Liberal arts education provides ‘leg up’ in down economy
Contact: Rob Eisele816-415-7574
January 26, 2012

A liberal arts education can provide a ‘leg up’ in a down economy, according to the results of a recent survey reported in the January 25 edition of USA Today.

“Recent college graduates who as seniors scored highest on a standardized test to measure how well they think, reason and write—skills most associated with a liberal arts education—were far more likely to be better off financially than those who scored lowest,” USA Today education writer Mary Beth Marklein reported. The results were contained in a report prepared by the Social Science Research Council, an independent research organization.

Critical thinking skills and the ability to reason analytically and write effectively—the hallmarks of a liberal arts education at William Jewell College and other top liberal arts institutions—were factors correlated with successful outcomes among survey respondents.

The report found that college seniors who had gained these skills were:

  • three times less likely to be unemployed than those who hadn’t (3.1% vs. 9.6%);
  • half as likely to be living with their parents (18% vs. 35%);
  • far less likely to have amassed credit card debt (37% vs. 51%).

The study is based on surveys of 925 graduates who as college seniors had taken the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that seeks to measure student learning. Click here for a link to the full USA Today article.

“We believe the study affirms the true value of a liberal arts education as practiced at William Jewell and other great liberal arts institutions,” said William Jewell College president Dr. David Sallee. “We want to prepare our students for a lifetime of success, and the fundamental skills of developing critical thinking, effective communication and problem-solving abilities are key elements in that process.” Dr. Sallee noted that the small class sizes and individual attention available from engaged faculty members at William Jewell and other liberal arts colleges lead to successful student outcomes.

William Jewell also provides opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning that allows them to apply the lessons learned in the classroom. Through Jewell’s unique Journey Grants, students are supported financially by the college to engage in real-world, experiential study, research, service or employment opportunities that prepares them for a life of work and service.

William Jewell College is committed to bringing together talented students and gifted faculty mentors within a vibrant community sparked by a rigorous and intentional liberal arts curriculum. A full range of personal and professional development experiences are presented by the selective national liberal arts college’s location within the Kansas City metroplex of more than two million.

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