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August 17, 2016

There’s a common misconception that liberal arts colleges are expensive schools that graduate deep thinkers without practical job skills.

MONEY has crunched the data and found dozens of liberal arts colleges that provide lots of small classes, individual attention, and training in deep thought—but that are also highly affordable and turn out graduates who seem to thrive in the work world.

So if you’re interested in the liberal arts college experience, check out our list of the 50 that offer the best value for your tuition dollar.

Best wishes,

Money-Saving Advice for College Parents and Students

What colleges really want: well-lopsided applicants
Too many high school students and parents buy into the myth that colleges give admissions edges to “well-rounded” applicants with lots of activities. Actually, colleges prefer “well-lopsided” students—those who are passionate about and deeply committed to a few activities or topics. Here’s smart advice from a college counselor on how students can sell their “edginess” to colleges. MONEY

How should you balance saving for retirement and college?
Financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz ran the numbers to show that parents who can save for both retirement and college are best off in the long run. But how much should you apportion to each? Here’s one expert’s advice. MONEY

Two reasons your college bills are so high: athletics and Greek life
There are many reasons college costs keep rising. Some of them are surprising. For example, participating in a fraternity or sorority can be much more costly than just living in a dorm. One recent example of the costs of Greek life that’s getting a lot of attention: a sorority that apparently spent big bucks on a slick recruiting video that looks more like a vacation ad. There’s no actual studying displayed. And at some schools, such as the University of Cincinnati, athletics adds more than $1,000 a year to tuition and fees. Inside Higher Ed

Have a burning question about college?
Whether it concerns saving and paying for college, applying to the right schools, or managing student debt, we have the answer—or we’ll find the experts who do. Drop us an email at college@moneymail.com, and we may include your question in our “Ask the Expert” series.

This Week's Deadlines and Scholarships

Featured scholarship
If you have a GPA of at least 3.7 and leadership roles in some extracurricular activities, you could qualify for a full-ride scholarship from the Bryan Cameron Foundation. Cameron, director of equity research at the Dodge & Cox investment firm, started a foundation last year to award as many as 15 scholarships of up to $50,000 a year to outstanding high school seniors. The application deadline for this unusually generous scholarship is Sept. 15. http://www.bryancameroneducationfoundation.org/home

Important upcoming deadlines

Aug. 19 is the last late registration day for the Sept. 10 sitting of the ACTs.

Sept. 1 is the last regular registration day for Oct. 1 sitting of the SATs.

ABOUT KIM: Kim Clark, a senior writer for MONEY, paid for classes at four colleges—and degrees from two of them—with jobs, loans, scholarships, and lots of generous financial help from her parents and grandparents. She’s been covering the ins and outs of paying for college for almost 10 years.

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