6 months ago
Admissions Advice

LAC vs. Liberal Arts Curriculum

WHat is the difference? If a school like Harvard for example has a liberal arts education doesn't that make it an LAC?


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2 answers

6 months ago[edited]

You can certainly get a full Liberal Arts education at an Ivy or Elite like Harvard or Columbia however at small LACs where there are no graduate or Ph.D. programs, it's hard(er) for someone majoring in engineering or another STEM field to get access to research opportunities or internships or have access to another curriculum since LACs only have undergraduate-level courses and teachers. On the plus side, since most LACs employ full-time advanced degree profs., you will not be taught by a grad student teaching asst. for your core class which is very common at top research universities like Ivys and Elites. So you will have hands-on access directly with really smart and experienced academicians. If you attend a school like CMC or Pomona, I don't think you would be missing out on anything compared to an Ivy. Plus you have full access to the other colleges like Harvey Mudd, Keck, Scripps, and Pitzer.

I was personally agnostic to about LACs or Ivys or Elites because you can get the same high-quality education at any of these. However if you already know you want to be an Architect or a Finance major, I might suggest applying to Cornell for Architecture or UPenn-Wharton or NYU-Stern for Business straight out of college.

The caveat would be Brown and Yale because they don't have a core curriculum and allow admits to crafting their own curriculum. So one could achieve a purely liberal arts education at Brown or Yale or something entirely different. But if you were going to study Classics (as in Ancient languages/cultures) at Harvard, I suspect studying Classics at Amherst, Hamilton or Macalester wouldn't be that different.

6 months ago

A liberal arts college is usally a school with a small enrollment and large emphasis on humanities. They may not have any computer science classes or engineering classes. It also is undergrad focuses and has the typical low student teacher ratio etc.

However a liberal arts education is in my mind a misnomer. Essentially what LAE is (in my mind) it’s much lighter on the lecture halls and much more small class size. For example most big schools honor programs is like this.

Aditionally this is somewhat of a feature but not a core component but you take a lot of broad cross discipline classes. For example a school I’m looking at has various classes on how Eonomics affect data.

Excuse my spelling but Hope this helps and feel free to comment if you’s like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help!


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