Return to Headlines

Deciding Which Type of College to Attend


Universities

  • Generally larger than other types of post secondary schools.
  • Offer a greater range of academic choices and more extensive resources.
  • Most offer graduate courses in addition to undergraduate courses.
  • Professors of major universities are involved in research and teaching.
  • The purpose is to provide students with a general education in addition to preparing them for a career.
  • Most universities provide on-campus housing.
  • Admission requirements vary from school-to-school, but are more selective than community or technical schools.

 

Private Schools

  • Private schools pride themselves on providing students with personal attention.
  • Many, but not all, are religious affiliations.
  • Generally speaking, the cost of private schools are higher than public schools because they do not receive tax dollars.


Different Types of Colleges

To figure out which type of college will fit you best, it is important to understand the differences between the basic types.

  • Technical Institutes and Professional School
    • Students have made a clear decision about what they want to study.
    • Preparation for a specific career is emphasized.
    • Much of the learning is "hands-on."
    • This education is very beneficial for those who will be working with tools and machines.
    • Programs usually run from 1 to 2 years.
    • Open admissions policies make it easy to be accepted into the program as long as you have a high school diploma or GED.
    • Few technical institutes offer on-campus housing.
  • Community or Junior Colleges
    • Students can either prepare for a specific job or take the first two years of general classes toward a four-year degree.
    • An associates degree is awarded at the end of the two-year program.
    • An open admissions policy makes getting accepted easy as long as you have your high school diploma or GED.
    • Few community colleges offer on-campus housing.
  • Liberal Arts Colleges
    • The focus is on undergraduate education.
    • Classes are generally taught by professors who see teaching as their primary responsibility.
    • Students take a broad range of courses in the humanities, arts, and sciences.
    • An area of in-depth study, known as a major, is selected.
    • Classes tend to be smaller and more personal attention is given to students.
    • The purpose is to provide students with a general education in addition to preparing them for a career.
    • Most colleges provide on-campus housing.
    • Admission requirements vary from school-to-school, but are more selective than community or technical schools.


Finding Information on Colleges

There are many online and print resources to help you search through the plethora of college options out there. See your school counselor for printed material on finding colleges that fit your needs. If you desire to search online for information, there are several helpful websites you can browse. Below is a list of a few good online websites that can help bring clarity and distinction to your college choice.


Comparing Various Colleges

The best way to compare colleges is to actually visit the school. While this is ideal, it is not necessarily practical or cost effective. There are several easy-to-use comparison services online.  Also, if you know what subject area you want to pursue, it is wise to call the school and ask to talk with the department head for that content area. They usually know more about the strengths and weaknesses of their program.

  • www.collegeboard.com – click on "College Planning" at the  top. The "Compare Colleges" link is found under "Find Colleges".