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Whats the major differences between different colleges?

what's the difference between college, university, technical schools, community colleges, etc? What can each one do for me?

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John’s Answer

Alessia before you can pick a specific school, you need to decide what you want from a college and how it meets your needs and lifestyle. When you graduate high school, you have several options to choose from:

FOUR-YEAR UNIVERSITY
A four-year college focuses mostly on undergraduate studies and offers a collection of degrees in one specific area, such as business or medicine. A four-year university is generally bigger in size than a college and normally includes undergraduate, professional and graduate degree programs. Both colleges and universities grant bachelor's degree.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Community and junior colleges offer a wide variety of two-year associate degree programs. They're typically less expensive than four-year schools and often have less stringent admissions criteria. Community and junior colleges are a good choice for students who don't wish to commit to a four-year program or those who only need to take a few classes to qualify for a profession or improve their transcript. Upon completion of a community or junior college, a student can enter the workforce right away or transfer to a four-year school to obtain a bachelor's degree.

TRADE SCHOOL
Vocational and technical training schools are privately owned and operated schools that focus on teaching the skills required to get a job in a specific field. The duration of a vocational or technical school program can range anywhere from five months to three years, depending on the field of study. Some of the most common fields of study are computer technology, cosmetology, medical assistance, office administration and mechanical repair.

Hope this was helpful Alessia
Thank you comment icon thank you, it was very helpful Alessia
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Mariano’s Answer

Hi, I would start off by first looking into what career path you want to follow and how much you want to invest into your education. That in my opinion would be your best starting point.

Mariano recommends the following next steps:

Research what career path you want to follow
Look into what education system you would follow
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Wayne’s Answer

Hi Alessia,

For the most part, "colleges" and "universities" often used interchangeably to refer to higher education institutions.

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.

Colleges often feature smaller student populations, more intimate campuses, and fewer program offerings than universities. The majority of these schools are private and receive little to no state funding. As a result, many colleges place less emphasis on research efforts and may even have strong religious affiliations.

The term college can also refer to community, vocational, and technical colleges. While a small number of these institutions offer bachelor's degrees, most award only associate degrees and certificates.

Community colleges are two-year schools that primarily award associate degrees and certificates. These institutions are known for their affordable tuition, small class sizes, and more individualized classroom settings. Many students choose to complete their general education requirements at a local community college before transferring to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor's degree.

Technical and vocational colleges — also known as trade schools — are two-year colleges that provide specialized training for specific career fields. These institutions are known for their intensive programs, smaller campuses, and lower tuition rates.

Trade schools do not typically require general education courses and instead focus entirely on developing skills and knowledge needed for a particular trade. Though both technical colleges and vocational colleges boast similar skills-focused curricula, technical college graduates often receive associate degrees, whereas vocational graduates primarily earn certificates.

Is a college or university right for you? Students should consider several factors when deciding whether to attend a university or college. 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.

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.

If, however, you're concerned about staying engaged in your studies and would feel more productive in a vibrant university environment, starting off at a community college might not be the best choice.

Each type of higher education institution offers advantages and disadvantages. It's up to you to determine which one best aligns with your personality, your interests, and your financial and professional goals.

Good luck!
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Jack’s Answer

This is a big decision for everyone that comes to this point in their life. Every person has a different reason to choose their college / university. Cost, financial aid, scholarships, majors, location. School reputation, sports, alumni relationship, career alignment for post graduate career. Other factors are extracurricular activities (sorority/fraternity), religious factors. Cultural factors, culture and diversity are also reasons to choose. Campus life and relationship building with fellow students. School size/enrollment. If possible visit various campus' and see how they feel within that environment. Speak to current students and see how you feel you would fit in.
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Priya’s Answer

Hi Alessia,
Colleges/Community colleges are generally cheaper and can offer basic classes. Universities are usually more expensive but offer more upper level classes, degrees, and prestige. I do not.know much about technical schools, but would think they offer more hands-on, direct training for a specific career, but perhaps only do so for some careers like trades. Maybe someone else can give more information for them. You can engage both community college and university, to afford and knock out basic classes. The difficulty of a class is generally less at community college classes than at University as well. Then going to a university or taking the upper levels can help you finish upper level degrees. You can complete typically an Associate degree at community college and a Bachelor, Master and/or Doctorate degree at University. Both community college and university can offer great resources to students, and universities may offer a wider variety, as the schools are larger in scale. Universities also give you the opportunity to typically live on campus. Good luck!
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