You've probably heard different things about private liberal arts colleges over the years — from friends and family, in the news or on social media — but is any of it accurate? Here are some of the most common myths that make the rounds each year.

Myth 1: Private college students only come from wealthy families.

FACT: The reality is that students who attend our 18 colleges and universities report family incomes at every level and the income breakdown is actually very similar to those for Minnesota's public universities. That’s possible because 96 percent of our first-year students receive grants and scholarships, which never have to be paid back. For families with more modest incomes, average grants and scholarships will cover even more of students’ tuition costs. Try out our colleges' net price calculators to see how much aid your student might be eligible to receive.

What’s more, our four-year graduation rate is the best in Minnesota and the Midwest. And we rank second in the nation. That means student graduates and start their careers sooner — rather than paying for extra years of college.

Myth 2: You need a high GPA or ACT/SAT score to get into a private college or university.

FACT: It’s important to realize that a wide variety of factors are used when colleges are looking at admitting students. It’s not just about GPAs and test scores. There is a private college that can work for your student. Plus, all our colleges are test optional, which means students aren’t required to submit ACT or SAT scores when applying. Learn more about application requirements at our colleges.

Myth 3: Liberal arts colleges don’t offer many majors or student activities.

FACT: While these do vary by institution, our 18 colleges and universities together offer more than 150 majors and minors ranging from anthropology to web design. Plus many offer concentrations as well as pre-professional programs in a range of areas of study.

In addition, students can get involved in student organizations ranging from academic clubs to cultural clubs to student government or participate in instrumental and vocal music, theater or dance as well as men’s and women’s varsity sports, club sports and intramural sports.

In or outside of class, students are unlikely be to find themselves bored. Use our online search tool to learn which of our colleges offer which areas of study, varsity sports and fine arts activities.

Myth 4: Liberal arts institutions don’t focus on science or math.

FACT: Not only do many of our colleges focus on the sciences and math along with the humanities and social sciences, but they award a large share of those bachelor’s degrees in Minnesota:

  • 48 percent of all nursing degrees
  • 40 percent of all physical science degrees
  • 33 percent of all biological science degrees
  • 32 percent of math and statistics degrees

So if your student loves math and science, then they'll find a home at one of our colleges. And they'll be supported by professors who encourage and assist them in hands-on research.

Myth 5: Employers won't hire you with a liberal arts-related degree.

FACT: Our colleges provide a collection of experiences that help graduates become career ready. Employers seek the knowledge and skills our graduates have and value liberal arts degrees. Our students graduate with ‘transferable’ skills vital to thriving in today's rapidly changing workplace and equip them with skills applicable to all career paths, including:

  • critical thinking
  • analytical problem-solving
  • excellent communication
  • adaptability
  • ability to contribute to team environments

Employers are seeking college graduates with a wide set of skills and high levels of learning. A recent national survey found that employers expect graduates to have both broad and major-specific knowledge, along with the ability to apply that knowledge in real-world settings and to develop their research abilities. These are all hallmarks of the kind of liberal arts education offered by our institutions.

That’s not all. Private colleges also support students strong alumni networks, career services, internships and corporate recruiter meetings. Our colleges’ annual Job and Internship Fair attracts hundreds of employers because they know that our graduates are well prepared for the work world.