Do I want a college or a university?
“College” and “university” mean the same thing in the United States. For example, there is a Boston College and a Boston University, and they are two different institutions. Both offer Bachelor’s Degrees and both offer Master’s Degrees, and both are very competitive with their admissions standards. The major differences are that colleges tend to be private and not all of them offer graduate degrees. Universities are normally larger and most do offer graduate degrees. If the school has word “state” in the title, then you also know that is very likely to be a “public” institution.
There are also community colleges or junior colleges. These institutions offer Associate Degrees, which are two-year degrees, and the tuition is generally cheaper that a college or university, but some community colleges do not offer on-campus housing. Community colleges are normally public institutions, while junior colleges might be public or private.
Two important things to remember about this information:
1. There is no difference in quality between attending a “public” institution, and attending a “private” institution. They both offer a variety of degrees and they both offer necessary and required student services. Private or public really just indicates where the majority of funding is coming from to operate the school. Public schools do get some of their funding from the government, so they are normally able to charge a lower tuition, while private schools depend on tuition for a large part of their income so their tuition is usually higher.
2. Most students that attend a community college or junior college will transfer after year one or year two to a university to finish a bachelor’s degree. Most careers require at least a bachelor’s degree, but there are some technical careers where an associate’s degree provides sufficient training and education.
Learn more tips on finding a university here.