You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re stuck in limbo between attending college, university, or bumming on your parents’ couch indefinitely. And to make matters worse, everyone keeps asking what you’re doing next. If only you had a dollar for every time you got that question, you wouldn’t even need a plan for the future. Well, here’s a quick cheat sheet on the differences between colleges and universities. Maybe it’ll help answer some of your questions so you can finally choose that next step.
To determine whether a college or university is right for you, it is important to first understand what the distinctions are between the two institution types. The term “college” is applied to a specific component of a university (e.g. college of veterinary science at University of Florida). This umbrella title gained a new meaning as colleges grew larger and began offering advanced degrees beyond a four-year bachelor program.* As colleges continued operating in their independent state, universities also developed alongside, both continuing to do so even today.
In terms of size, universities tend to be larger in enrollment as well as class size, while colleges are generally smaller in both elements.* The same principle occurs with the structure of programs as well, with universities offering broad undergraduate and graduate programs while colleges are typically specialized in particular undergraduate focuses.* Aside from enrollment size, operation structure, degree program offerings and class size, there is a key difference that applies to the faculty as well. Universities typically require faculty to split the devotion of their responsibilities between lecturing and research projects. As most colleges focus exclusively on undergraduate studies, faculty members may concentrate their efforts exclusively on teaching.*
Now you know the major differences between colleges and universities. Does the appeal of smaller classrooms and personalized attention from professors in colleges speak to you? Or perhaps graduating with some research under your belt with a university professor sounds like a good resume booster. Having a strong preference for a specialized program vs. the ability to explore a variety of options could lead you down one path or another. Empowered by the unique attributes of colleges and universities, you’ll be able to make an informed, thoughtful, and most importantly, educated decision.
*The College Solution