7 Differences Between Studying at College and University

This article is going to be preoccupied with discussing the 7 differences between studying at college and university. Many have been asking what could be the distinguishing factors between what a college entails and what a university stands for. Even then, some students even interchange the two words, while many just believe that the university is in many ways greater and more advanced than the college which is a small institution.

Well, from the foregoing, the argument between the two concepts of tertiary institutions have affected quite a lot of things. One of these is the decision to be made about attendance. Many consider the fact that large universities offer an almost limitless variety of academic pathways, people, and resources, whereas small colleges promise a close-knit community and more intimate classroom settings.

Few of the factors that ring about the discrimination in the differences between college and university are outlined below:

  • Financial Factors

Those looking to avoid spending excess time on general education courses and enter the workforce as quickly as possible may find vocational and technical schools an ideal fit. While the financial aspect of trade school is something to consider, full-time students can normally earn career-specific certificates in less than two years.

Learners enticed by the traditional college experience, with its rich campus environments and diverse student bodies, may feel more at home at a large university or small liberal arts college.

Cost-conscious students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree might consider starting their education at a two-year college. Completing general education requirements before transferring to a four-year university remains an extremely cost-effective option that can save you thousands of dollars.

  • Historical Factor 

On the contrary, there are some universities which have many colleges within them. A very good example of this is Harvard University which has within itself a Harvard College but actually the college predates the university’s founding. The same way, we have the University of Ibadan which once was the University College of Ibadan. However it still has many colleges within its large premise.

These designations sometimes require prospective students to apply to a particular college for the program they want to pursue, such as nursing, rather than the university as a whole. This is largely due to the specialized curricula and limited availability of more competitive programs.

With the two factors bearing much differences that are observed between this academic concepts, let us dive into knowing at least the 7 differences between studying at college and university:

1. Availability of Graduate Level Programs

A college is an institution of higher education that focuses on undergraduate degree programs. That is, they may offer 2 year associates degrees or 4 year bachelor’s degrees, but typically do not offer graduate level programs such as a master’s degree or doctorate degree.

Meanwhile, a university is an institution of higher education that offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Generally, universities are large, some enroll tens of thousands of students, and offer a wide variety of courses.

Read Also: 10 Benefits of Studying at the University

2. Limited Offerings or Academic Courses

Colleges are generally smaller in terms of enrollment and degree offerings, but that is not always the case. Larger colleges such as Columbia College offer dozens of undergraduate programs. But your local community college may only offer a few associate degree programs.

But universities are comprised of multiple schools or colleges, each dedicated to different areas of study.

3. Colleges are Prerequisite

Another of one of the 7 differences between studying at college and university is the fact that colleges are sometimes regarded as stepping stones to securing admission into universities. While a 2-year associate degree is sufficient in some professions, most students use community college as a stepping stone on their way to earning a bachelor’s degree. They enroll at a community college to earn general education credits at a lower cost and then transfer to a college or university for their remaining two years.

4. University Accreditations

Accreditation is the most important factor when choosing a school, and it works the same way and is just as rigorous for both colleges and universities. The difference is with a university, the accreditation board will also evaluate the school’s graduate programs.

Accreditation boards may also make exceptions. If they are evaluating a university, they may accredit the university with the exception of the School of Law, for example, until that department raises its quality.

5. Open and Wide Research Access

Lots of research opportunities and facilities are available to students. There is more access to advanced degrees and more interaction with graduate students. Professors are more likely to be highly reputable figures in their fields of research. There are more program offerings overall and a more diverse community of students.

6. Access to Large Facilities

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.

7. Affiliation and Scope

Colleges are either affiliated to a university, or they are an autonomous body. Conversely, Universities do not require affiliation from another university. The scope of a college is limited as compared to a university because there are many colleges affiliated to a single university. The reason why this also qualifies to be among the 7 differences between studying at college and university is that the college offers courses, only in specific areas. On the other hand, the University offers a blend of courses and programs which are not limited to a specific area.

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