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A Peek into US College System

By April 21, 2023No Comments
Did you know that according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) there are a total of 5999 higher education institutions in the US as of the academic year 2019-20.  So, what does that mean? It simply means that as parents, mentors and educators we should take away the stress that my child/student will not go to college or not get admitted.

Let us understand the differences between a College and a University in the United States

The main difference between a college and a university is that they differ in the kind of program and degrees they offer.

  • University refers to larger institutions that offer both undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • College refers to liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and technical and art schools.

Let’s begin with Universities

Universities can be public or private institutions that offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. They have huge campuses and offer a variety of programs and major selection. Public Universities enroll thousands of students every year whereas the private universities are much smaller and more selective.
In 2022, UC Berkeley enrolled 32,479 students whereas Stanford University admitted 7700 students.

Public Universities

— are higher education institutions that are funded by the State. Students from within the State pay in-state tuition whereas out of state and international students pay a higher fee. Some examples are University of California – Berkeley, LA, Irvine, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, University of Florida etc.

Private Universities

— rely on tuition fees, and donations from its patrons as they do not get any financial support from the government. Some examples are Pepperdine University, Chapman University, Harvard University, and Yale University.

Research Universities

— can be public and non-profit private universities and they spend millions in research every year.

Did you know that Stanford University is a non-profit public charity that receives its funds from sponsors, donors, and of course parents and students. They spend carry official research designations billions of dollars each year on research and development. Students get to interact with university professors who focus on research and publishing papers in their fields.


What are the Benefits of studying in a university

One can choose from a broad range of courses that best align with their interest and career path. Universities feature incredibly diverse campuses, allowing one to meet and work with students, faculty, and staff from many backgrounds.

Some Challenges

The faculty in many large public universities focus on research and the class size is huge. They also have limitations in classroom availability and that makes it difficult for students to register for a course before it fills up. While some students thoroughly enjoy large, bustling communities, others may feel isolated or even lost or overwhelmed in such a surrounding.

Now let’s take a look at colleges

Colleges can be either two years or four years. A two-year college offers an associate’s degree whereas a four-year college offers a bachelor’s degree. In a college not only is the student population smaller but the student to faculty ratio is also much lower. So, if a student is an introvert, a smaller college may work in their favor as they will have a sense of belonging in a close-knit environment.
Community Colleges
– Community colleges offer two-year associate degrees that help students to transfer to a four -year college for an undergraduate degree It helps students stay close to home and the parents save on tuition cost.
Vocational Colleges
– They offer specialized training in a particular industry which include culinary arts, dental hygiene and health care. These colleges usually offer students certificates or associate degree
Liberal Arts Colleges
– These programs offer a strong foundation in fields like math, economics, law, business, history etc. They are typically private and offer four-year bachelor programs.
There are plenty of options so focus on yourself and find the right fit where you can be yourself and blossom in a healthy learning environment.

Ruchi G.Saran