“Our higher education system is one of the things that makes America exceptional. There’s no place else that has the assets we do when it comes to higher education. People from all over the world aspire to come here and study here. And that is a good thing.” Principal quoted a famous quote by Barak Obama as he completed his speech in the sound of claps.
Auditorium was buzzed with the excitement and enthusiasm due to school completion, everyone was talking about the next step for a brighter future whether to go for a college or a university and what are the differences between the college and university. Susan, winner of high achievement award, was also excited as well as confused to decide what to opt for her bright future. Her main target was to find out the difference between college and university and what program she should choose, as this was a chance for her to mark her identity as a graduate student.
Lack of guidance and no chunk of information led Susan to choose one of the well-known college colleges and its programs instead of going for her own interests and ease. Six months after her enrollment, Susan dropped out as she realized that she made a wrong decision for going blindly over the college rather than gathering information. Susan started from scratch, gathered all the necessary information she could possibly have; what would be better for her, a college or a university and where she can pursue the career of her choice.
It took Susan six months to realize where she lagged and what went wrong. We all learn from our experiences but the knowledge we seek adds sprinkles to our experiences. The dilemma one faces after completion of school is irrefutable so here is a proposed solution in the form clear difference between a college and a university so that one can choose wisely what is best for them. Read it, if you want to know as to what is the difference between a college and a university.
What is College?
College is a smaller institution which offers a two-year degree program. It is started when you have completed your 12 years of education at the age of 17 or 18. You are awarded with a bachelor’s degree at your college completion.
What is University?
A university is a larger institute than college and sometimes colleges are part of a university. University offers you bachelors programs, masters programs, and doctorate. The degree provided by university is more advanced and you pass it as either undergraduate or postgraduate student.
Points of Difference between College and University:
Apart from traditional definitions and differences, college and university are interchangeable terms and people often don’t know the difference because it is quite hard to put both in separate boxes completely. You can get a bachelor’s degree from college as well as from university that is why people often prefer saying “college” instead of “university” for four-year undergraduate program. Students with postgraduate programs prefer to call their institute “university” and not “college”.
- Enrollment in College vs Universities:
From year 2005/6 to 2015/16 almost 22.8m students were enrolled in colleges and universities of USA. Mostly students prefer to enroll in universities as they offer a diverse curriculum for students and the undergraduate programs leading to postgraduate programs require shorter time in universities as compared to going for separate colleges.
- Expenses in College vs Universities:
In USA, average expanse for a full-time equivalent student from public sector, count as $14,090. Another difference between college and university: university expenses are higher than the college expenses, the rate of overall expenses at university make it up to $60,000 but some universities also offer lower rates. Unlike universities, college expenses are much lower and account for $22,958 per year while for state residents it is $9,139. The colleges with lowest expenses are certain community colleges which just charge $3.347.
The difference in these expanses shows that the universities are expensive as compared to colleges but on the other hand offer you more courses and a broader vision to select your future. When it comes to expenses of community college vs. university, the college is cheaper than university as well as other colleges.
- Dropouts at College vs Universities:
One comparison between university and college is in terms of the number of dropouts. When a person intentionally or voluntarily leaves the college or university, it is called dropout. The dropout levels from colleges are higher than the dropouts from universities. Out of 70% students getting admission inn college, only 2/3 are graduated with four-year bachelor’s degree. Around 30% of students drop out from colleges after completion of their first year at college.
- College facilities vs University facilities:
As college is a smaller institute than university, the facilities are also less in colleges however colleges are well equipped also. University being higher campus consists of large range of facilities. Almost all universities in USA have enough facilities to render fit large number students and providing them with basic necessities of their program.
- Environment-College vs University:
You will find a major clear difference between college and university in terms of environment. College is rather simple, disciplined and strict in terms of rules and regulations because of smaller student body. While on the other hand university is more liberated in terms of rules and regulation however academic rules and laws are strictly followed by both.
Apart from academics, university life is more enjoyable than college life, as one enters as long term student in university to complete graduation which may also lead to doctorate while one has to leave college after completion of undergraduate degree to opt for university for further studies.
Extra-curricular activities are the major part of academic life which help to build a different person apart from monotonous academic routine. Such activities help to identify skills and nourish them. You’ll find more curricular activities in universities if we compare college v s university because university has large space, larger student body, large accommodations. Further University has different societies and social clubs to take part in like, dramatics club, media club, and community service society etc.
In terms of student body in college vs universities, student body of university is more disciplined and professional due to the effect of ambience it has. College student body are usually considered as juniors as compared to university student body.
The staff and faculty of university are highly professional and senior, most of them hold an award of full professors and senior professors while others have post-doc degree. While in college doctorate professors are also found as faculty members. Due to the difference in university and college, the different in faculty is also there as university holds large faculty as compared to college.
- Courses Curriculum- College versus University:
College offers a defined course curriculum as compared to university because colleges are specific to certain courses for example, “ABC College of Finance”, “XYZ College of Applied Sciences”, that is why they have a defined line of courses they offer and one can easily opt which curriculum of suits their interest. A difference between college and university is that the university has diversity in course curriculum as a university has different colleges in a single campus offering different disciplines and programs. Universities are named broadly as “ABC University of Science and Technology” which shows that you are required to have an in-depth and clear research on what is your interest and what you want to opt as your career.
- Style of Education:
A major comparison between college and university is style of education. College education is mostly subject oriented as it strictly follows the defined curriculum, there is lack of diversity in college education. While on the other hand university education focuses more ‘how to learn’ rather than ‘what to learn’. You can have course oriented education with a diversity to choose your interest distinctly and it also provides independency to choose to relevant courses of interest either from same department or from different departments within the same university campus.
- Fun Facts- University vs college:
Apart from the traditional differences in college and university, there are fun facts about both college and university life which let you enjoy your life as a student at its peak. No doubt elementary school fun is no more in college or university but you’ll have more experience, exposure, and fun apart from your studies.
College let you wear your sweatpants in public when you become lazy after studies and saving time becomes the priority, get up, freshen up, and come to college or university, who gets time to change.
You can have parties, events, society events, and club events through respective clubs and you can enjoy those. College and university give you chance to bring out the best in you in terms of your skills. One learns public speaking eloquently in college and university due to exposure towards leadership skills, management skills and professional ethics as well.
You can have dozens of more hangouts in college and university life but sleeping is better option. Yes, college and university teach you the importance of sleep, got free time; take a nap.
You learn how to pay attention without paying attention, college life teaches you to pretend how to be attentive in lectures while day dreaming unless teacher asks you questions.
A cancelled test or lecture is just a God fruit awarded to you which is precious and incomparable, yes you get more time to sleep.
It also teaches you how to spend less money and enjoy more because it’s very hard to save enough money in college and university life. One become wise in spending unless it’s a weekend and you got a planned hangout with friends.
Apart from fun and other activities, you should know that sometimes fun let you drag away from your academics and your grades are compromised so you should keep both balanced as not to avoid any unfortunate failure in your academics as grades matter for your future.
So, what should I choose, a college or a university?
After knowing what is the difference between college and university, now comes the point to decide what should I opt between the two. This is a major decision so it should not be carried out in rush or blindly as it will build your first step on the staircase of future. The answer to your question in choosing between college and university is within yourself, you just need to orient it towards your interests. Always go for what you find appealing and interesting to study. Carry out superabundant research on universities and colleges, their curriculum, expenses, revenues, costs, time duration, and facilities.
However certain things need to be kept in mind while choosing between college and university as,
If you are financially well established and can afford heavy expanses, you can go for college first. Opt the college of your interest and learn the basics of your course in two-year degree program then opt for university for higher and advanced study on you interested course.
If you have large time span and you are not taking a gap year, you can go for choosing university as it takes longer than college but the studies are advanced and exposure to your interest is high as compared to college.
Another comparison between college and university, university offers large number of courses, as to complete a four-year degree program for your bachelors, you need to study more and more courses set by the university policy, while for the quicker study and less courses you have a chance to go for college too. But keep in mind choose this after copious research on your interests.
For colleges, you have a choice to go for public sector colleges which have less expenses as it is funded by state or you can go for private sector colleges which have higher expenses and more facilities as they are independent of state funds. There is also an option for community college if you are financially unstable, you can go for it because it has much lesser expense than public sector college.