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College vs. University

OSAU Team

At some point, you may have wondered what is the difference between a college and university. Many people often confuse and interchange the two terms, but there are some key differences between them. 

Depending on the student and their needs, one of the two is a better choice for them. Many people have the idea that going to a university is better than going to a college. Both are equal academically, but if the student prefers a school with a wider choice of classes and programs, a university may be a better fit. If the student prefers small sized classes and being able to interact more with their professors, a college might be a better option.

Remember, the name of the school is less important than whether the school is a good fit for you personally. Decide what you want from your college experience and then choose a college or university that fits that ideal.

And knowing these differences may help you decide what kind of program and school is the best for you.  


1. One major difference between the two is the programs offered. 

College vs. University

Universities offer full undergraduate and graduate programs, while colleges generally only offer undergraduate programs. This also reflects on the size of the school system. Universities consist of multiple schools within its system. For example, a university may have a school of engineering or a school of sciences.  

However, some institutions offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees but still call themselves “colleges”. Some of these institutions include the Dartmouth College, Boston College, and The College of William and Mary.  


2. Universities can be categorized into two: public and private universities. 

College vs. University

Public universities are funded by state and local governments, and every state has at least one public university. Since public universities are partly funded by the government, tuition fee is generally lower.  

Private universities, on the other hand, do not receive funding from state and local governments. Meaning, tuition fee in private institutions are higher than in public universities. 

However, private universities offer their students financial aid to help cover the costs. Meanwhile, colleges also offer certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees that require two years to finish - aside from the bachelor’s and master’s degree that they offer. These programs are generally designed to help their students prepare for the workplace. There are also many different colleges that you can apply for. These include career colleges, community colleges, and liberal arts colleges.  

A career college, or sometimes called technical or vocational school, focuses on specific fields. If you plan to jump right into the workplace once you graduate, career colleges may be for you. They offer courses related to personal support worker programs, medical laboratory technician programs, bookkeeping and accounting programs, network administrator programs, network technician programs, business administration programs, paralegal programs, culinary programs, and designing programs.  

Meanwhile, community colleges two-year offer programs. These programs earn you an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degrees. Community colleges also offer technical and vocational programs. Some undergraduate students also study at community colleges to earn enough academic credits to a bachelor’s degree.  

Liberal arts colleges, on the other hand, focus on academics as a path instead of training students for a professional life. These kinds of colleges challenge their students to think critically, analyze and interpret information, and in general, be a well-rounded individual.  


Now that the difference between the two is clear, choosing between a university and a college is entirely up to you. Remember, not one kind of institution is better than the other - universities and colleges are equal academically. It just depends on what you degree you want to pursue.  


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Works as Management Team at Our School and Us