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Should My Gifted Child Pursue a Liberal Arts Degree?

Posted by Categories: Gifted Students, Higher Education

Should My Gifted Child Pursue a Liberal Arts Degree? | National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT)On October 13, 2016, NSGT presented a webinar entitled Current Trends and Considerations in Selective College Admissions: What Every Family Needs to Know! After attending our pre-college programs in the summer, we want students to have successful beginnings at the college or university that best suits them. Therefore we felt this topic was a good one at this time of year for those families anticipating college entrance in the next few years. The interest is this topic was tremendous. If you weren’t able to attend and also are interested in viewing it, please click here.

The webinar was presented by Dr. Matthew Greene, President of Matthew Greene Educational Consulting. Dr. Greene counsels families on secondary school, college, and graduate school admission, as well as career planning, in Connecticut, New York, nationally, and internationally. He has written and co-written a number of books on educational planning, including how to get into college and pay for college.

As Dr. Greene was unable to answer all the questions asked during the webinar within our time frame, we thought it might be helpful if we were to address some of the remaining ones in a series of blogs. Today’s questions, in this blog, written by Dr. Greene, are devoted to questions about liberal arts degrees.

Question 1: Is a liberal arts under graduate degree advisable and then proceed to your choice of graduate degree? 

Question 2: I have a daughter who is interested in studying chemical engineering.  We’ve been focusing on engineering schools but, based on your comments, I now wonder if a Liberal Arts college might be a better fit. Can she get the technical education and degree there that will get her a ChemE job when she gets out? 

A liberal arts college education, as we discuss in The Hidden Ivies, can be valuable and worthwhile for most students. For those interested in the sciences, they will likely find more than enough to keep them occupied at the undergraduate level, even if they are not enrolled in a large research institution.  

For students who might want an engineering degree, I recommend considering what are called “3/2” or “4/1” dual degree programs offered at many liberal arts institutions. These programs allow students to spend three or four years at their first college, taking a balanced program but one concentrated primarily in challenging math and science classes. Then, the student applies (usually in year two) to take two or three years of additional study at a university with an engineering program. He or she will graduate with a BS from the first college, and a BS in Engineering from the second. That pathway allows the student to pursue a graduate engineering degree if that is of interest.  

All the best,

Barbara Swicord, Ed.D.
CEO, National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT)
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG)

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