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I recall having a good time in high school and being involved in a variety of activities. However, because of the many subjects that you are supposed to take, I never had the chance to consider what I wanted to do after high school. This condition was aided by the fact that many high school students had no choice but to select a combination of subjects separated into languages, sciences (mathematics is required), history, and social sciences. All I knew was that I wanted to further my studies, but it was a difficult decision to make because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. The years I spent in high school passed very fast mainly because there were many activities that I took. Therefore, it was not a surprise that those years seemed like a week. After all the fun and joy had cooled down after my graduation day, the biggest question that hit me was which course would I take in university or college and ultimately, which college or university would I attend. Another bigger question that hit me was the difference between a university and a college and the different types of accreditations that are given in each type of institution that I would apply and get admitted to. I did blind applications to several colleges and universities, and luckily enough I got positive feedback from most of them since my high school grades could speak for themselves. However, these positive feedbacks only added to my dilemma, and I had to seek advice from my friends, parents, and academic advisor. That is when someone mentioned liberal arts. Although I do not remember, who mentioned the subject of liberal arts it raised my curiosity and needed to understand what liberal arts is.
The dilemma I faced at the time when this subject was mentioned was huge, and I took it upon myself before picking a particular course either in college or in university, to understand liberal arts. A question like its background, philosophy, and history went through my mind, and I realized that to understand it better I had to do my research other than relying hearsay.
The first question that I asked myself was what liberal arts is. From what I got from my research is that liberal arts are a form of education revolving mostly on humanities. While this seemed simple, I understood that liberal arts are diverse since it encompasses various subjects from history, languages, sciences, philosophy, theology among others. The interesting thing about the subject is that it entails the democratic thinking, analysis, and conclusion of a subject. The term liberal hence means that in the subject of choice, there is no right or wrong answer so long as one can argue a theory or conspiracy with enough proof and evidence whether factual or systematic (Ballard, Edward Goodwing, 3).
The history of liberal arts dates back to the era of classical antiquity when the ancient Greece and ancient Rome merged to create the Greco-roman world. At that time, liberal arts were considered as an essential type of education that would lead to a free individual active civic life. This would have given a person, or so it was considered, the capability to defend oneself in court and juries as well as perform military duties. It only covered three subjects namely grammar, logic, and rhetoric collectively called the trivium. This, however, came to change during the medieval times when subjects like arithmetic, music, astronomy, and geometry were incorporated. These four subjects were collectively called the quadrivium. In the modern day world, liberal arts cover a broad range of topics ranging from social, humanities, formal, and natural sciences. Humanities include the study of literature, philosophy, theology, theatre, classical languages, and ethics. Social sciences include the studies of history, psychology, law, sociology, politics, and geography among other subjects. Natural sciences are the studies of biology, chemistry, archeology among others while formal sciences include mathematics, statistics, logistics, accounting among others (Haidar, Hasna,4)
Having understood the scope and history of liberal arts was not the end but an addition now to the hard choice of choosing the university or college that I would attend. Of most importance was the kind of accreditation that I would receive from each institution and as an objective with every young person, was the concern that this accreditation would guarantee an employment opportunity in the country.
In the US, there are two types of colleges or universities. These are public which are funded by local and state governments and usually offer lower tuition fees especially to students who are residents of the state, and private colleges, which mainly rely on tuition fees or private resources including donations for funding. Universities, unlike colleges, offer more major and degree options like bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees and they contain several smaller colleges of liberal arts, health sciences which can prepare you for a variety of careers.
There are two types of accreditations; these are Institutional and specialized accreditation. Institutional accreditation is achieved when the standards and requirements designated by the accreditation organization are met. These include academic quality, administrative effectiveness, and other related services. Specialized accreditation is designated for specialized departments within a college or university. This accreditation recognizes particular aspects of quality in fields like law, engineering, education among others ("Types of Accreditation," 11).
The much information available regarding the courses that universities and colleges offer makes it easier to choose which institution to choose in pursuit of higher education. Other factors that come into play are the mode of financing either private or sponsored. The ultimate decision rests on the perception that you have on an institution not what other people say about it.
Ballard, Edward Goodwing. Philosophy And The Liberal Arts. Boston, Springer Science & Business Media, 2012,.
Types Of Accreditation." Worldwidelearn.Com, 2017, Retrieved from: https://www.worldwidelearn.com/accreditation/types-accreditation.htm.
Haidar, Hasna. "What Is Liberal Arts Education?." Top Universities, 2014, Retrieved from: https://www.topuniversities.com/blog/what-liberal-arts-education.
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