One of the biggest life decisions facing you the second you graduate from school is what to do next. Do find yourself a job as quickly as possible? Do you take a gap year, travel, experience new things? Do you jump into further education and find a course geared towards your interests?
The majority of us opt for the latter, seeking an element of freedom which is largely missing from school – the ability to choose what we study. But which is the best option, college or university? What are the differences? These are the questions we hope to answer below:
College vs University
A major difference comes in the form of time. Generally speaking – university degrees tend to take longer to complete (the average time for an undergraduate course being around four years), than do college courses.
The actual framework of universities tends to be different from colleges, too. Where in a college course there may be a more rigorous, school like schedule to adhere to – university courses often have lots of free space, and leeway for students (allowing for extra studying and extracurricular activities – this is down, in part, to the aforementioned timeframe).
University courses will cost more than college courses – a major component part in many students’ decision making process. With more and more graduates out of work, many people opt for the cheaper and quicker option to allow themselves to get out into the real work quicker.
So which should I choose, college or university?
Deciding on which to opt for is a very personal decision, and can’t be answered by anyone other than yourself. However, if you are financially able to, many people favour first attending college to begin their studies in a specific area, and then moving onto a relevant university course thereafter (often beginning in the second or third year of the university program).
There can often be an unspoken judgement from employers when regarding university courses versus college courses, however. As university is generally believed to be a longer, more taxing process than some shorter college courses – prospective employers are often guilty of holding university graduates in higher esteem than college graduates – this may be another deciding factor.
|Cost||Tends to be cheaper than university courses.||More expensive than college, but often containing more substantial resources.|
|Timeframe||Short courses, predominantly, from as little as nine months at a time.||Long courses – usually around four years, at least, with long periods of research time for assessments.|
|Degree Value||Very valuable for the school graduate, or those looking to proceed to university. If relevant – more than enough to land employment.||Very valuable, regardless of specific course; employers will often be impressed by a university degree in itself.|
|Style of Education||Normally very practical and course orientated. Little in the way of extraneous or abstract learning. Subject orientated.||Often very encompassing, teaching the student how to learn, as opposed to what to learn. A great deal of independence and abstract thought, as well as course relevant material.|
|Facilities||Generally just as well equipped as universities, but with smaller campuses.||Often possess the same degree of equipment as colleges, but simply have more of it to accommodate a larger student body. Additionally, university offers lots of extracurricular activities, such as societies.|
However, it all boils down to what you want from your future. Before deciding on anything, whether it’s college or university, or which courses you even want to consider studying – carry out copious research. Such a major decision should not be rushed.
Above all else, any education is good education – if you feel a college course will best suit you in terms of the lessons, or the facilities than a university course, then it may be the avenue for you.