College versus University
Many people use the word ‘school’ to cover a whole variety of learning institutions. School can mean high school, college, university – it simply means a place that you go to learn. It’s only when you start using a less general term that confusion starts.
High school (sometimes referred to a secondary school), is the level of education that everyone has to complete – and takes you to the completion of your twelfth year of learning. After this it is a personal choice whether or not to go onto further education. This is undertaken either at a college or a university.
A college is a place which offers qualifications up to and including a bachelor level degree – also known as undergraduate study – this will include certificate programs and associate degrees. Colleges are individual schools that may or may not be located in a university.
In years gone by colleges were all separate parts of a larger university. In effect a university ‘unified’ all the colleges together, allowing qualifications higher than bachelor level to be given under the university banner – such as Masters or PhDs. However, today’s colleges may be separate entities on their own. But they fundamentally remain the same – the highest degree a college can offer on its own is a four year bachelor’s degree.
A university is much larger and is made up of a number of different colleges. It offers qualifications up to doctorate (PhD) level. It is likely to have many colleges – such as a college of art, college of technology, college of law etc.
Both colleges and universities have their own advantages. Depending on how you prefer to study, and of course, what level of qualifications you’re looking to gain, you may find yourself leaning more towards one than the other. For those who learn best in a small class environment with lots of one-on-one tutorage, then perhaps a college might be best. But if you’re looking for somewhere which offers a wide variety of majors, large library, school teams and after school activities, then you may be better off studying at a university.
There is no right or wrong way to study – and both types of schools have their own merits. But take some time to decide where you’ll fit in the best. After all, it’s your key to a fruitful career – and the rest of your life.