What is the difference between colleges and universities? I get this question a lot. Often these two words, college and university are used interchangeably, and for the most part, that’s fine as people understand what’s being said. However, on a technical level, there is one main difference between them and that is size. Not necessarily the physical size but the degrees offered and the student enrollment.
Both colleges and universities offer students undergraduate programs. Each can provide great education and degrees. You should consider them both when you are choosing what college to attend. Or you can be like me and go to a college and a university when earning your degree(s).
What Is A College
Colleges are smaller than universities. They focus on undergraduate degrees like associate’s (2-year) and bachelor’s (4-year). Therefore, they typically don’t offer a master’s or doctorate degree.
- Community Colleges
Community colleges are a prime example of what is considered a college. They offer a 2-year associate degree. After earning an associate degree many students choose to transfer to a 4-year university to finish their bachelor’s degree.
I am a huge advocate of community college. The benefits of attending a local community college are abundant. It is the best academic and financial decision you can make when it comes to your education. It was how I graduated high school at 16, received my AS Degree in Business Administration at 17, earned my BS in Business Entrepreneurship at 19, and then my MBA in Entrepreneurship and Global Business at 20. Community college gave me a big jump in my academics.
- Some Community Colleges Offer Bachelor’s Degrees
It’s worth noting, many community colleges now offer full bachelor’s degrees. The program selections are much smaller than the program options at universities, but don’t let that discourage you. Community college bachelor’s (BA & BS) programs are limited to workforce-ready professional degrees, which is advantageous for you as a new graduate. These programs are intended to get college graduates into important fields immediately after graduation. Read all about earning a bachelor’s degree from a community college at Community Colleges Are Offering Bachelor’s Degrees.
What Is A University
A university is larger than a college. They have more programs of study and more enrolled students. They offer both undergraduate (bachelor’s) and graduate degrees (master’s) degrees. Some may offer doctorate (PhDs) degrees too. There are universities that also offer professional degrees in law, medicine, or business.
Some universities also have research opportunities. Universities that have research are typically larger more prestigious schools. They also usually offer a range of programs and majors at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. When a university is research-based the professors are experts in their field. This means they teach as well as publish research.
Difference between College and University
The terms “college” and “university” are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two. Colleges are typically smaller than universities and focus on undergraduate degrees, such as associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Universities are larger and offer a wider range of academic programs, including graduate and professional degrees. Some universities also have research opportunities.
The key differences between college and university:
Which Is Better A University Or College (College vs. University)
One is not typically better than the other. Choosing between a college or a university comes down to a student’s academic goals, preferences, and finances. No matter what you choose make sure you can afford it. Going into debt is not necessary. As I mentioned above I went to both a college and a university. I earned my Associate Degree at a community college and I earned my Bachelor’s and Masters’s degrees at a university. By attending both I saved a lot of money.
Trade Schools Are A Type Of College
I wanted to mention Trade Schools as they are on the rise. Trade schools are sometimes referred to as vocational schools, technical schools, vocational colleges, or career schools. They teach students technical skills to prepare them for a specific occupation. Typically, a trade school is entirely focused on the industry students are preparing to work in. They provide hands-on training and a learning environment that mimics the trade the student is studying. This is very different when you compare it to a college or university.
Not all trade schools offer the same type of education. Some offer certificates, diplomas, and degrees. Depending on your area of study, the length of time it will take you to graduate will vary. I think Trade Schools are great and oftentimes students who graduate from them can get a job faster and for more pay than a recent grad from a college or university. Here are The Highest-Paying Trade School Jobs.