Liberal Arts Scholarships
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A Liberal Arts education encompassed many disciplines, and forms the foundation of the curriculum for most colleges and universities. The concept of a Liberal Arts education began with the ancient Greeks, who considered a grounding in a wide range of subjects and disciplines to be a necessity for a well educated, self governing, populace. Today, a Liberal Arts curriculum is typically comprised of up to two dozen departmental disciplines, including literature, foreign languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, psychology and the natural sciences. By being exposed to a wide range of disciplines, students develop a well rounded educational background that will prepare them for any number of careers. Indeed, many potential employers consider graduates from a liberal arts program to be the most ideal candidates for employment.
Students graduating with a Liberal Arts degree may choose to move directly into the workforce, or may opt to continue their education at the graduate and post-graduate levels. Students who choose to continue their education typically move on to more specific fields of study, using their Liberal Arts education as a foundation for a highly specialized academic or professional degree.
Scholarships for students pursuing a Liberal Arts degree are typically supported by colleges and universities. Because the nature of a Liberal Arts degree is so far reaching, and encompasses a number of different disciplines, it is rare for a corporation or professional association to sponsor a Liberal Arts Scholarship. Students pursuing a Liberal Arts degree, with a plan to continue their education in a specialized field, will want to expand their scholarship search to include their final chosen major. For example, students enrolled in a Liberal Arts program, with the intention of pursuing a career in accounting, will want to search for Liberal Arts scholarships first and then follow that up with a search for a suitable accounting scholarship.
Colleges and universities are the primary source for Liberal Arts scholarships. Campus-based financial aid varies greatly, and students should contact their school’s offices of financial aid for information on scholarship programs for which they may be eligible. The following examples should give college-bound students a better idea of the types of Liberal Arts scholarships that are offered by colleges and universities around the country.
- The Penn State College of Liberal Arts offers a variety of scholarships for attending undergraduate students. The Penn State Liberal Arts Scholarship is open to full time students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who have declared an approved liberal arts major. Applicants must submit their high school transcripts, a resume, and a personal statement outlining their educational goals. Award amounts vary, and are disbursed over the course of two semesters.
- The Indiana University – Purdue School of Liberal Arts sponsors a wide range of scholarships for students who have declared a major/minor in one of the school’s liberal arts disciplines. The Burns/Wagener Scholarship in Communication Studies awards up to $1000 for students minoring in communication. The Marius J. Faure Family Scholarship provides up to $1250 to eligible students minoring in the study of French literature and language. The Sarah Jamison Keller Scholarship is an annual full tuition award for students majoring in English literature. Applicants must submit a scholarly analysis of an aspect of English literature or language. All of Purdue’s Liberal Arts scholarships are merit-based, and students must meet the minimum academic requirements to be considered for an award.
- The Texas State University College of Liberal Arts administers more than 90 privately endowed Liberal Arts scholarships. Scholarships are available in every discipline, including Anthropology, English, History, Political Science and Sociology. Interested students should apply through the appropriate department heads. Award amounts vary, and are determined by academic merit and financial need.
- Auburn University College of Liberal Arts offers three different scholarships for enrolled students. The General Academic Scholarship is open to all undergraduate students enrolled in an approved liberal arts discipline. Award amounts vary, and are determined by academic achievement. The Academic Enrichment Scholarship offers up to $3000 to Auburn students who are participating in a study abroad program that relates to their liberal arts major. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to be considered for the award. The Opportunities in Undergraduate Research Fellowship awards $1500 to an exceptional undergraduate to enable them to undertake a semester long research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
- The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences sponsors 43 different scholarships for first year undergraduates. Twenty-eight annual scholarships are available to students pursuing any Liberal Arts and Sciences major at the University. Fifteen scholarships are earmarked for students majoring in specific Liberal Arts disciplines. More than $260,000 in scholarship money is awarded every year. Interested students can apply for a scholarship through the school’s office of financial aid, or via their department head.
Liberal Arts degrees sometimes get looked down upon by graduates with Master’s or Professional degrees. But they are the foundation of a solid education, and are often the stepping stone to a lucrative professional career. Again, the majority of Liberal Arts scholarships are campus-based, and focus on the needs of undergraduates working towards their first degree. Students who intend to pursue a secondary or Professional degree will want to continue their scholarship search by concentrating on their chosen field of study as it relates to their ultimate career goals.