When the world appears to be a quickening rat race to the top of a meritocracy, why study the arts? Research shows that students’ future success undoubtedly benefits from an in-depth arts education. At every stage of life, from school through full-time employment, an arts education proves to benefit students.
1) The arts benefit students’ performance and engagement in school.
The arts not only benefit students by providing a holistic education but also encourage engagement and leadership in students’ extracurricular activities and communities. Students who study in the arts have both higher academic performance and more community service involvement. A two-decade-long study found that young people who work in the arts are 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair, and are elected to class office within their schools more than 3 times as often.
This type of holistic involvement in schools and communities not only makes students more competitive when applying to college but also makes them better prepared to be leaders outside of their classroom. Students who are excited about participation in extracurricular activities will go on to be more successful than those who are disengaged.
2) The arts will improve students’ college readiness.
In 2015, data from The College Board showed that students who took four years of arts and music classes while in high school scored an average of 92 points higher on their SATs than students who took only one-half year or less. The difference? An average score of 1077 vs. 985.
The arts promote focus, discipline, and creative problem-solving. So, it isn’t surprising that students who have cultivated these skills excel at a higher level than students who don’t study in the arts. Even beyond improved test scores, arts involvement demonstrates dedication in students when they are applying to college.
3) The arts make students more sought after and valuable in the job market.
An arts education gives students the skills they need to fill growing demand in the job market.
Did you know 72 percent of employers say creativity is a primary concern when they’re hiring? Yet 85 percent of these employers also report that they are unable to find the creative applicants they seek.
Creativity can manifest in many ways, not just strictly in the arts fields. Advancements in technology, infrastructure, and science all require innovation. The arts allow students to learn to imagine and implement their own ideas, cultivating ingenuity that is valuable in any field.
4) The arts create well-rounded, holistically developed citizens.
The benefits of studying the arts go beyond reported statistics. Working in the arts teaches students to be self-motivated, disciplined, and adaptable. Students learn how to receive critique and implement feedback in ongoing projects while practicing time-management skills. They are challenged to think outside of what they know, synthesizing learned information and curiosity into tangible ideas. Overall, students who study the arts discover skills that are not only applicable to all fields but also greatly needed.
Alice is a senior at Emory University, pursuing a B.S. in Biology and minor in Dance and Movement Studies. As a tutor, she works to develop critical and analytical thinking skills with students. She believes it is crucial to teach a thorough understanding of the material rather than formulaic memorization. She believes in paying careful attention to the ways students learn to then utilize their skills to help them succeed.