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today we want to talk about “difference between a university and a college”.
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What is the difference between college and university?
In general, colleges are smaller education institutions when compared to universities. They offer undergraduate/Bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, or certificates. The number of courses offered is limited, and study programmes take between 2-4 years to complete.
Attending college education does not prevent you from applying for a graduate degree at a university later on if you want to advance your knowledge or change your career. Employers will not look down on a college degree, as long as it proves you have the skills they are looking for. However, if you apply for a position that requires more advanced abilities, you will need to study a postgraduate degree.
Universities are larger education institutions compared to colleges and offer both undergraduate and graduate/postgraduate degree programmes. They have a more diversified curriculum and offer a variety of courses, and usually include research facilities and sports centres.
The number of students enrolling in universities is much higher than the one in colleges. International students looking for higher education abroad usually choose universities, rather than colleges, which tend to be a more popular choice for local students.
Usually, universities are made up of schools, colleges or academic departments. In this case, colleges are the same as departments within a university. So, departments are a division of the academic staff on a particular discipline. For example, Harvard University is made up of other colleges (also referred to as schools), including Harvard Business School, Harvard College, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, etc.
The university is the one providing the degrees and allowing students to access all its facilities, but courses are held at one (or multiple) of the colleges or schools.
We recommend checking out these universities in the US & the UK
Northeastern University, the US
Columbia University, the US
University of Texas at Austin, the US
Imperial College London, the UK
King’s College London, the UK
Manchester Metropolitan University, the UK
What Is a University?
Universities are public or private institutions that offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Known for their lively, diverse environments, these institutions usually feature sizable campuses and a variety of program offerings.
Whereas public universities commonly enroll tens of thousands of students, private universities are typically smaller and more selective. For example, Texas A&M University — a large public institution — enrolls over 70,000 students, whereas Princeton University — a highly regarded Ivy League school — serves just 8,000 students.
Universities are also generally more devoted to research, featuring an impressive array of facilities and labs to support these efforts. Many schools,
like Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University, carry official research designations and spend billions of dollars each year on research and development.
While university professors may shift their focus to publishing and research, students benefit from classes led by some of the most highly qualified faculty in their respective fields.
Pros of Universities
You can choose from a broad array of program and course offerings that best align with your skills, passions, and career path.
Universities often feature incredibly diverse campuses, allowing you to meet and work with students, faculty, and staff from many backgrounds.
Classes are typically led by highly reputable professors, providing you with a rich, dynamic learning experience.
Earning a bachelor’s or graduate degree can open you up to more lucrative professional opportunities.
Cons of Universities
Due to tenure responsibilities and large class sizes, faculty may focus more on research efforts than teaching.
The total costs of attending a four-year university — including tuition, fees, room, board, and books — are steep and often result in substantial student loan debt.
Many large public universities face limitations in faculty and classroom availability, making it difficult for students to register for a course before it fills up.
While some students thoroughly enjoy large, bustling communities, others may feel lost or isolated, especially in classes with dozens of students.
What Is a College?
In the United States, we frequently use “college” to refer to all types of higher education. Rarely do we say that someone is a “university student” or has a “university degree,” though there is a real difference between a college and a university.
The biggest difference between the two is size. That doesn’t mean the physical size of the campus—a college is typically focused on one type of degree level. A two-year college will generally offer associate’s degrees and a four-year college will generally offer a bachelor’s degree. Colleges generally do not have graduate programs, but there are exceptions!
Because they are more focused on one type of degree, colleges often have smaller class sizes and provide students with a greater degree of personalized attention from faculty and advisors. Colleges are usually more devoted to undergraduate teaching and less devoted to research efforts, although many colleges still have robust research programs.
They are also more course and subject-oriented in general, meaning that they may teach fewer abstract or theoretical subjects and place less emphasis on hands-on independent research than universities.
There are many colleges that are specialized because of their limited enrollment. Liberal arts colleges are the most common. There are also colleges that focus exclusively on the engineering disciplines. Since the majority of colleges are private, meaning they are not funded by state governments, many have religious affiliations or teach a unique curriculum.
For example, a “Great Books” curriculum revolves around the reading and understanding of a library of literature consisting of 100 to 150 books thought essential to Western culture. There are a few colleges whose programs are dedicated to a thorough examination of these works by students
, including Thomas Aquinas College and Shimer College.
Colleges that have specific focuses, like military academies, graphic design schools, or visual arts colleges, don’t necessarily need to provide broad offerings because the smaller group of students that apply have self-selected for interest in the special qualities of the school.
Most colleges only offer undergraduate degrees and tend to have fewer program offerings in general than universities. Colleges are divided into academic departments, whereas universities may be divided into separate schools based on major type.
Some colleges offer graduate and professional degrees, including:
The College of William and Mary in Virginia, which offers graduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business, law, education, and marine science
Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, which offers graduate degrees in medicine, business, engineering, computer science, and more
St. Joseph’s College in New York, which offers graduate degrees in education, business, creative writing, and more
In many cases, these institutions are called colleges simply because of tradition. They began as exclusively undergraduate institutions and later decided to offer graduate programs. Alumni are often reluctant to support a name change for their alma mater, so the college will keep its label to avoid upsetting people who take a lot of pride in the original name.
There is also the rare situation of some colleges that are technically universities, but they can’t change their names because a university already exists with the same label. For example, Boston College is a university by every meaningful definition, but it can’t change its name to Boston University since that’s already a different school.
Pros and Cons of Colleges
Here’s a list of some general pros and cons of colleges to help you see the bigger picture:
You will likely get more personalized attention from professors and academic advisors.
There is often a greater focus on undergraduate teaching.
Colleges often have more curriculum specialization for students with very specific interests.
Most colleges have a closer, more unified student community.
There are usually fewer resources and facilities for conducting research.
Faculty at colleges are less likely to be leading researchers in their fields.
Colleges don’t offer direct access to more advanced degrees.
Most colleges will have fewer overall program offerings.
difference between university and college uk
One of the most intimidating things international students face far from their home is their confusion about a foreign education system, its organization and its unique vocabulary. For a unique education system like the one in the UK such confusions are highly pronounced.
Before we get straight in our topic it is helpful to have a basic understanding of the UK education system. This is very important because imagine willing to get a university degree in UK and ending up with a further education degree which provides you with a set of practical skills in order to find a job.
The whole education system in UK is divided into 5 major stages:
The first three stages comprise the compulsory education stage in UK. At the end of secondary school, people in UK sit for GCSE or A-Levels exams and then they are free to choose about their future.
This is where the difference between college and university becomes apparent. Basically, College and University are two different levels of education in the UK.
In most education systems in the world, students move on to university once they finish secondary schools. In contrast, high school graduates in the UK have more options ahead; they can either find a job right away, enroll a further education course to gain particular skills needed to land a job in a specific sector or move up directly to higher education if they have taken their A-Levels.
That being so,
the difference between college and university in UK is bigger and draws on degrees, duration, study curriculums and so on.