Liberal Arts Colleges vs. National Universities

The U.S. News & World Report features an annual edition of America’s Best Colleges. One of the highlights of the magazine is its ranking of colleges and universities. Many people are unaware of one of the main differences between the two categories, national universities and liberal arts colleges. Generally speaking, national universities emphasize graduate teaching, research, publishing, and consulting. For faculty at those institutions, the rewards are not in teaching undergraduates. As noted in the magazine, liberal arts colleges, on the other hand, emphasize undergraduate education. Consequently, classes tend to be smaller and faculty more accessible. Some small universities want to emphasize their commitment to undergraduate students and this is reflected in their mission statements and their proportion of graduate students to undergraduate students.