Stepping into college life is one of the most exciting and challenging life experiences that you should never miss out. Before applying to any college or university, understanding your situation is paramount to your goal planning. Most students commit the mistake of not recognizing their options and opportunities, which can eventually lead to regrets and delays.
While you’re still at the secondary education level, it’ll be helpful to educate yourself about the differences between a college vs university since many college students aren’t aware that they’re different, or use them interchangeably. Through knowing how these two differ, you’ll have a better perspective in choosing which one is for you.
In this article, you’ll encounter the distinct qualities that college and university have, and hopefully help you decide which path is more suitable for you.
Decide Your Career Field:
The most influential factor that can help you arrive at the right decision is how your educational institution will guide you to become a professional. Aspiring college students have different educational and career goals.
Basically, universities offer more degree programs than colleges. A college is a smaller institution offering two-year associate degrees and four-year undergraduate programs. On another end, universities provide degree programs that colleges can, plus they also offer graduate degrees – masters and doctorate degrees.
If you wish to pursue your studies immediately after the undergraduate level, then choosing a university can be more convenient for you. However, make sure that this university is excellent in your chosen career path. If you desire to work immediately after your associate or bachelor’s degree, college is a better option.
Access To Resources And Grants:
Unfortunately, not all institutions have substantial access to educational resources, and colleges are at a disadvantage in terms of this aspect. Since universities are acknowledged nationally, and even internationally, they have abundant resources for different fields and broader network opportunities.
Case in point, universities typically have physical and online libraries where you can find a plethora of references for your research. In terms of hands-on experiences, universities also possess basic to advanced equipment and facilities for improved quality of learning.
Thus, if you wish to pursue programs aligned with science and technology, you can have more resources and facilities in a university, and college is less conducive for your required learning.
Assess Your Financial Capabilities:
Undergraduate and graduate education are undoubtedly expensive. During your hunt for the right school, educational costs, including tuition, allowance, and miscellaneous fees should be taken into account. Assessing your financial capabilities can assist you in picking between a college and university.
Universities are typically more expensive than colleges, especially community colleges. As estimated by the College Board, the average cost of educational fees in a public college and university annually is USD$3,440 and USD$9,410, respectively. Aside from that, you also have to consider your expenses, such as food, transportation fare, and expenses for requirements, among others.
If you want to get into a university with a smaller budget, your two best options are: apply for a scholarship or borrow a student loan. Some universities also offer scholarships exclusive for their students with academic advantages and extreme financial needs.
Living Arrangement And Convenience:
During your college life, you should have a stable and convenient living arrangement that’ll not be an inconvenience to your studies. Balancing your academic and social life is already a huge challenge, so you wouldn’t want to add other issues about your living condition. The convenience of your living arrangement will primarily depend on the location of your home and desired school.
In terms of housing and accommodation, universities have dorms and on-campus apartments, but colleges don’t. A few universities even offer meal plans and cafe credits. These additional resident costs are often computed annually, which can amount to USD$10,000 to USD$11,500 in public and private universities.
To save money from on-campus housing costs, you’ll have to thrive in dorms and apartments near your campus or travel everyday from your residence. Alternatively, you can find relatives living near your desired college or university or move out of your current residence and move into a closer location.
Generally, colleges often offer more flexibility and consideration with admitting students into their institutions. They usually have open admissions, where they accept all students with high school completion.
Universities have stricter admission guidelines and policies so you’ll have to prepare further than your application form. Most universities have an admission exam, such as SAT, ACT, GRE, or a university exam, that’ll filter students with more academic talents. Your academic record from elementary and secondary levels will also become relevant to your university acceptance.
But, take note that there are also community colleges with firm admission guidelines, particularly those institutions offering allied health, engineering and technology, law enforcement, and nursing programs.
Student Population And Class Size:
Your school and class environment have an enormous impact on your academic learning and performance. One of the most distinct properties that differentiate universities from colleges is the student population inside the institution, as well as the population inside each class.
Universities tend to cater to a huge population and large classes for every lecture. You’ll often see yourself sitting in a lecture hall with hundreds of students. In this situation, you’re less likely to pick up what the professor is trying to discuss unless you’re sitting on the front and have other learning resources.
If you want one-on-one, specialized attention, attending colleges with a smaller population can be better for you. Nevertheless, it still depends on the college’s education quality since colleges with smaller student population will more likely have a smaller faculty.
Lastly, if you can handle independent learning and prefer to be exposed to lectures from world-class instructors, a large university can benefit you more.
Everything that you’ve learned from your college or university will all be for nothing if you can’t apply them appropriately into the corporate world. Sadly, colleges and universities don’t have equal employment opportunities. Your chosen field of study will also affect your employment. Also, employment procedures vary in different regions and countries.
Since the employment context can have different configurations, a generalized difference between colleges and universities is that recruiters most likely visit large universities to find prospective candidates. Students in community colleges should exert more effort in searching for work actively. Nonetheless, both institutions have career centers that’ll assist you in finding the perfect employer.
Between college and university, there’s no definite answer which one is better, that’s why this guide is created for you to weigh your factors and personal conditions. Attending a university doesn’t guarantee more success than college or vice versa.
Understanding the differences between college and university and knowing how it can affect your education will help you make an excellent choice that you wouldn’t regret for the rest of your life.