Private vs. Public Colleges & Universities: Which Should You Attend?
There are many colleges and universities students can apply to, which means variety in selection. But sometimes having such an overwhelming number of choices could pose a problem for college bound students that aren’t sure which schools to send applications to. When it comes to private colleges and universities and public versions of these educational institutions, students may not be sure as to how the two differ and what it means for them when it comes to the admissions process.
Definition of Private Colleges & Universities
Private colleges and universities receive their funding through many different sources, mainly endowments, tuition and generous donations from friends and alumni.
Definition of Public Colleges & Universities
Unlike the private version, public colleges and universities have funding that comes directly from their state.
What Are the Differences?
Below are some of the ways in which public and private colleges and universities are able to distinguish themselves from one another:
- Because public colleges and universities have their financial needs met by state funds, this allows students to benefit from savings, such as breaks on tuition costs. This is mainly the case for students that are attending a school in their own state of residence. Those enrolling in a public college or university out of state typically are not eligible for tuition cost breaks. Students planning on attending a private college or university will not be able to enjoy this kind of financial break.
- Private colleges and universities are notoriously known for being much more expensive to attend, compared to public schools. However, private educational institutions are also known for having less “red tape” than public colleges.
- Public colleges and universities tend to have much larger numbers of graduates each year because of the size of their overall student body, while private schools maintain a smaller student body, which means a smaller graduating class.
- Because of the smaller student bodies private colleges and universities have, this usually means more hands-on instruction for each of its students and more intimate class sizes, compared to public institutions, which regularly offer stadium seating for its more popular courses.
- It is typically easier to get accepted into public colleges and universities than private educational institutions.
Which Is Better
One type of college or university is not necessarily better than the other. The decision as to whether a student should apply to and attend a private or public college or university should be made only after considering all the pros and cons for each. Each type of educational institution has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It is important for students to apply to schools that not only offer the degree program to help them achieve their future career goals but that suits their lifestyle, budget and personal preferences. In fact, it is best for students to apply to both public and private colleges and universities instead of sticking to only one type. After seeing which institutions are interested in accepting a student, should he/she then make the final decision about which kind would provide them with the greatest benefits as it applies to their academic needs and goals.
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