A friend of mine who is director of college counseling at a high school recently wrote to me to ask for assitance with one of her families. The son, a high school senior, totally loves Oberlin and wants to apply early. The dad, on the other hand, doesn't see the value in liberal arts education and feels that the son should pursue a college experience with more direction.
This question has been coming up a lot lately, and it's not personal to Oberlin - many folks out there simply hold the misguided belief that a college program requiring early specialization will yield a more successful career path.
To them, I say watch from 0:40 --> 1:20 of this video. (That's often a good place to start with folks who think we need to "prepare our kids for specific career paths." :-) )
Then I tell them to read this. I found it awhile back, and I think it does a good job of explaining why an education such as the one provided by a place like Oberlin is the best choice to prepare for the 21st century global landscape.
Here's another one, by one of our own associate directors of admission.
And I love what Robert Harris has written here, especially points I, II, and III. (He loses me a bit when he gets into the religious stuff.)
It occurred to me that we will need to begin crafting some of our own messaging around the value of a liberal arts education as this debate heats up - it will no longer be enough to simply communicate the value of Oberlin specifically.
So, Obies, if someone were to ask you why you value your own liberal arts education, or why he or she should choose the same path, how would you respond?