How do you like to learn? There’s no one answer that fits every single person. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and we all have things we like or dislike.
Some people prefer a lecture hall environment, where they simply listen to a teacher talk and take notes. Others want a more active, discussion-based classroom model, where the instructor asks questions and encourages students to take the class in whatever direction they feel comfortable with, as long as the discussion somehow relates to the broader topic at hand.
There are a variety of learning models, and there are also a variety of education types. Once you get out of high school, you may decide that’s the end of your formal schooling. But if not, there are several options for people looking to continue learning.
Liberal arts colleges
We hear a lot about universities, but liberal arts colleges can seem more confusing. They really aren’t. Basically, a liberal arts college is a college that believes in providing an essential core education in the liberal arts. “Liberal arts” generally means subjects like English, psychology, sociology. history, religion, and languages.
So if you’re a liberal arts major, a typical semester could consist of classes in British literature, French, and the Sociology of Gender. Liberal arts are supposed to teach people to think critically about the world and their place in it.
College in general is a good place to learn how to ask questions and think about the answers, and liberal arts colleges like Linfield College really emphasize the art of inquiry. It’s not enough to ask questions; you should be able to ask questions in a way that makes sense, and you should be able to avoid logical fallacies while you do so.
Detractors say that getting a liberal arts degree means a life of poverty. In some cases, that may be true, but that’s true of most degrees. There are very few majors in colleges that guarantee a lucrative career. The fact is, most employers want people who are good at thinking and good at writing. Successful liberal arts majors will leave campus with a solid foundation in both of those skills.
Technical and vocational schools
When you pull into a repair bay at an auto body shop, do you think much about the type of training that the guys fixing your car got? Most of us don’t; we just assume they’ll be able to do the job. There’s a decent chance the guys in the greasy overalls went to school to become a certified automotive and diesel technician, or something similar.
Such training is available at technical schools and vocational schools. They have a reputation for focusing more on manual labor jobs like car repair, plumbing, and even culinary arts, although campuses have also branched out into training people to be legal assistants or dental assistants.
Most programs typically last a year or two rather than the four years that’s usually required for a bachelor’s degree. At the end of it all, you may get an associate’s degree, or you may receive certification in your chosen field. It’s a good option for people who want training in a specific field but, for whatever reason, don’t think a traditional college campus is right for them.