What is the Difference Between College and University?

by admin on June 26, 2008

The difference between college and university depends upon which country you live in. In the United States, college is a general term that refers to any post secondary education at the undergraduate level; an institution where you can earn a Bachelor’s degree. For example, saying that you are attending college after high school could mean that you are going to college or university. In addition, large universities can have different areas of study that are referred to as colleges such as the college of biology, or the college of engineering.

In Canada, and many other parts of the world, colleges are vocational institutions where you can learn a trade, or a two year Associate degree in Arts or Science. Many students will complete the first two years of their Bachelor’s degree at a college and finish the last 2 years at a university. Colleges have some advantages over universities; they generally have smaller class sizes and the professors are more focused on student successes and less focused on research related endeavors. Colleges can be a good intermediate step between high school and university. In addition, for people who didn’t graduate from high school or didn’t earn the appropriate prerequisites to enter their degree program, colleges offer courses that are pre first year courses such as Math, Physics, and Chemistry for grades 11 and 12. The drawback of going to a college is that it can at times be less prestigious and have less course offerings than a university.

To complicate matters a little bit more, some colleges in small cities are offering one or two degree programs in a specialized area. Often, these colleges are partnered with a university in a larger town, but students don’t have to commute to finish their degrees. For people living in really remote areas, correspondence degrees are offered through Open Universities. Basically, there is a requirement to attend the actual institution for a small period of time each year; like two weeks at a stretch, but for the rest of the time, with a fast internet connection and a reliable computer, you don’t have to leave home. Royal Roads in Victoria, BC, Canada has wonderful correspondence programs.

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