Nowadays, higher education offers their students both the college and university options. Most of those who have just dropped out of schools in the United States of America do not realize that there is a difference between these two. However, in reality, we are looking at two institutions that provide some similar and different programs. Therefore, this difference might change your opinion on where you want to graduate. So, what exactly the universities offer that the colleges do not have and which one should you choose? Go ahead and read our university vs. college article.
How to Classify a College?
If you ask most students in the 12th grade in the American school you will see that they are mostly aiming at the colleges. Check our college thesis guide to know more. For some, there are some reasons to do so. From the lower prices to the fact that the wanted programs are only taught in a small number of colleges. Yet, some are just not aware of the fact that the colleges and universities are the same. These are some of the facts that define an institution as a college:
- A postsecondary institution that offers the studies over the 12th grade programs
- These programs allow a student to get a degree at the level of graduate, associate or baccalaureate
- Various graduate and undergraduate degree programs or only the latter.
Public and private colleges
Public colleges are funded by local and state governments and usually offer lower tuition rates than private colleges, especially for students who are residents of the state where a college is located.
Private colleges rely mainly on tuition, fees and private sources of funding. Private donations can sometimes provide generous financial aid packages for students.
These are businesses that offer a variety of degree programs which typically prepare students for a specific career. They tend to have higher costs, which could mean graduating with more debt. Credits earned may not transfer to other colleges, so be sure to check with the admission office at each college.
Four-year and two-year colleges
Four-year colleges offer four-year programs that lead to a bachelor's degree. These include universities and liberal arts colleges.
Two-year colleges offer programs that last up to two years that lead to a certificate or an associate degree. These include community colleges, vocational-technical colleges and career colleges.
Liberal arts colleges
These colleges offer a broad base of courses in the liberal arts, which includes areas such as literature, history, languages, mathematics and life sciences. Most are private and offer four-year programs that lead to a bachelor's degree. These colleges can prepare you for a variety of careers or for graduate study.
How to Classify a University?
Like said before, the universities might be different from the colleges. However, for some of the students who do not care about the less popular factors, everything is different. The reason is simple – is there any difference at all for such students to get into a university? Moreover, another question comes up – are there any major differences at all between these two that are worth mentioning in the university vs. college article?
- Just like the colleges, they allow you to get various levels of degrees from the bachelor to the associate
- Also allows the students to apply for a larger variety of academic programs
- Has additional requirements in order to be named a university
What is Needed for a College to Be Named a University?
The amount of universities and colleges in the country make the students feel like there is almost no difference between the two. And in reality, for some people, the difference will be so small that they will not even notice it. Yet, if you look closer at these two you will see that they offer different programs for their students. For some, it might not look like a thing that matters, as they are satisfied with what they get in both of the cases. However, for some who are interested in the deeper learning, it might be a crucial difference that would change their mind on what to pick as their choice.
Here are some of the things that the universities need to have in order to gain the university status:
- The big number of undergraduate programs that allow the student to be called a bachelor or a master in a broad range of academic disciplines
- Graduate studies that give an ability to get an advanced degree in more than three professional paths
- The staff that concentrates on the programs which are not linked with the undergraduate programs
- Full financial support from a university for all of the undergraduate programs
- Special accreditation by the national commission.
From these facts we can see that for some of the students it might be important to gain the privileges of the university above the college, while for the most it might be better to go to a college in their state instead of going somewhere far just to get a number of advantages that will be smaller than the amount of money you would have to pay for them. Therefore, we can call the universities that just offer some classes which are fitting a small part of the students, while making them pay more for that.
Community and Liberal Arts Colleges
The community colleges are something that is popular everywhere in the world. Those are the institutions that offer a two-year program. It specializes on teaching the students the things that you would need at your job instead of bringing in a lot of classes that just waste the students’ time.
The only problem that makes the community colleges a bad option for some is that fact that they can only offer an associate degree or even the certificates for one of the career fields. Yet, they have some popularity all over the world. Moreover, some of the students even tend to take a stint at the community college and transfer to a full one afterward.
The liberal art colleges are not that popular overseas. Therefore, some of the students from abroad are usually not familiar with what such colleges offer. Yet, in America, many students attend such places. They do not offer too many options in terms of one specialization but instead focus on giving the students knowledge in all areas. Due to the fact that the liberal arts colleges are not that popular, some students mistakenly believe that this type of institutions only offers the humanities programs. Yet, some of them actually teach science too.
Public and Private Universities
There is a mistaken thought that all of the universities are private. In the current days, there are some universities that need their students to pay for education. Those are the Ivy League schools, which are considered the top-level universities all around the world. Yet, most of the universities are public, meaning that the students do not have to pay for a study. They are mostly huge, enrolling up to ten thousands of students. They are often divided into smaller parts, called colleges.
Yet, those are just the divisions that mostly concentrate on a specific field of studies. Also, there is an option in some universities to take the general course just like in the colleges. Yet, they work interchangeably, as you still have to take the specific course in the latter term. Moreover, you will have to earn the credits just like everyone, so it is a must to take some of the courses.
Here were the main differences in the university vs. college comparison. One of the things that many students have mistaken at is the thought that all of the universities are big. In reality, some of them are as small as less than a thousand students. The number of those studying just depends on the research work and the number of fields that the university specifies in. The bigger ones are usually expected to do more research work, as well as giving the students all types of choices to pick from. However, the undergraduate students sometimes have to fight with the graduate students for the opportunities in such universities. Check our site to read more useful comparisons and articles about education.