Liberal Arts and Law – Why Critical Thinking Matters

The liberal arts extend far beyond literature, fine arts, and the humanities. At its core, the “liberal arts” can include any subject that is distinct from professional or technical subjects. Unless you are specifically studying within a certain program with one major subject in mind, you could consider your education as a liberal arts education. There are specific liberal arts colleges in the United States, but many larger research institutions can be considered liberal arts as well. For example, most of the Ivy League schools’ undergraduate programs allow students to focus broadly on cross-disciplinary subjects before declaring a major.

Since the liberal arts is inherently cross-disciplinary and focuses on the “art” of learned academic and intellectual skills, communication and critical thinking are imperative to success. This also leads to great success in fields such as law, which requires logical thinking, excellent public speaking, and polished writing skills.

A liberal arts environment will require students to think broadly across disciplines, pull information from many challenging subjects, and forge an academic path that pulls from a wide array of intellectual topics. As such, critical thinking, communication, and writing are perhaps the most important skills that a liberal arts student must master to succeed. Critical thinking will aid you when you’re completing a project on how international manufacturing standards might infringe on things like human rights. When writing a paper about the economic history of China’s borderlands with Manchuria and Mongolia, you will need to synthesize economic data, historical documents, and other primary sources into a convincing, engaging study. When defending your thesis on how lockdowns and technology affect the psychology of global youths, you will need good public speaking skills.

Since liberal arts students need to develop these aforementioned traits, they tend to excel in a broad range of careers. Liberal arts students, and especially those who study philosophy, also tend to score quite high on the GRE (the standard graduate school entrance exam). Where liberal arts students truly thrive, though, is in master’s programs and law programs. As these students have developed the ability to think broadly and continuously seek new learning in their lives, they excel in post-graduate studies.

All these skills—critical thinking, writing, and public speaking—can be learned this summer through PANO’s Masterclass in Creative Writing and Critical Thinking. Any student, regardless of their intended major, would gain critical life skills in this class as well—skills that will lead to sustained success in high school, college, and beyond.