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Colleges VS Universities

The college process can sometimes seem overwhelming and stressful, especially when you have to start developing a college list. In the process of creating this list, it is important to understand the distinction between colleges and universities. Here are the main differences between the two types of educational institutions:

Typically, colleges have a smaller student body, whereas universities tend to have more students enrolled in a variety of different programs. Colleges only offer an undergraduate educational program, meaning that the students who attend that school have the opportunity to just earn an undergraduate degree. Since colleges do not have graduate programs or schools, there is an emphasis on undergraduate work.

For students eager to participate in undergraduate research, this might be a factor to seriously consider. Since universities do have graduate schools, often times much of their research facilities are tailored towards graduate students, limiting the experiences available to undergraduates.

When a student applies to a university, he or she is usually applying to a specific program or school at that educational institution; whereas when you apply to a college, all of the students hoping to gain admission are within the same applicant pool as they will all pursue the same degree with different majors. Due to the combination of undergraduate and graduate programs, some universities are able to offer a range of interdisciplinary dual degree programs between multiple undergraduate schools, or even sub-matriculation from an undergraduate program into one of its graduate schools.

Universities also tend to have larger student bodies, and therefore larger campuses as well as more faculty to accommodate all of their students. Colleges on the other hand, generally offer classes with fewer students, which creates a more intimate learning environment. This may be beneficial to students who thrive in academic settings that are more conducive to smaller discussions and personal attention.

Regardless of which educational institution you identify with, it is important that you not only consider the school that offers you the most meaningful education that is relevant to your interests, but also provides an academic support system that will allow you to authentically pursue your passion. Lastly, as a current junior myself, I completely relate to the anxiety that surrounds trying to find the right school, but in my attempt to figure this out, I have acknowledged that the most important aspect of determining where it is most likely I will succeed, is the place that I will be the happiest.