Considering College Types
Going to college is a big decision. The first step is picking the right college to go to. It is Important to know about different kinds of colleges before one starts to apply to different colleges. There are distinctly different kinds of colleges, each with their own benefits, costs, and admissions requirements. Knowing which type is right for you is an essential first step.
We have put together a list of different types of institutions for your convenience. Different colleges and universities have different missions (functions or goals). While no two are exactly alike, most fit into one or more of the following categories:
Liberal Arts Colleges focus on the education of undergraduate students. Classes are generally taught by professors who see teaching as their primary responsibility. Because most liberal arts colleges are smaller than universities, classes tend to be smaller and more personal attention is available. As opposed to gaining preparation for a specific career path, students who attend liberal arts colleges are exposed to a broad base of courses in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. In addition, they select at least one area of in-depth study which is their college “major.” Many employers look for graduates of liberal arts programs, valuing their well-rounded preparation.
Universities are generally larger and include a liberal arts college, as well as some professionally-oriented colleges and graduate programs. Universities offer a greater range of academic choices than do liberal arts colleges. They will likely provide more extensive resources in terms of library, laboratory, fine arts and athletic facilities. At many large universities class size will reflect institutional size, with most introductory classes being taught in a lecture format. Some classes will be taught by graduate students. Professors at major universities will be involved in research which adds to the vitality of the academic community, but may also draw energy, focus, and resources away from undergraduate teaching.
Technical Institutes and Professional Schools enroll students who have made clear decisions about what they want to study. They emphasize preparation for specific careers, for example in music or fine arts, engineering or technical sciences. You will want to be quite sure of your future direction before selecting one of these options.
Women’s Colleges, with their larger numbers of female faculty and administrators, offer college women confidence-building role models, greater opportunities to serve in a full range of student leadership positions, and a heightened awareness of career possibilities for women. Women’s colleges graduate a high number of science majors, as well as students who continue on to graduate school and/or professional studies.
Community or junior colleges generally offer the first two years of a liberal arts education, in addition to specialized occupational preparation. An associate degree is awarded at the end of a two-year program of studies, following which many students continue their education at a four-year institution. Proprietary institutions are considered for-profit companies that operate under the demands of investors and stockholders. They attract adult learners and part-time students in search of narrowly-focused professional training opportunities. These programs usually offer a non-traditional format; many for-profits also have classes solely available online.
Military Academies combine education with military training. These are large, structured, and highly disciplined institutions. There are five federally funded military academies in the US — each focused on one branch of the US military: Military, Navy, Airforce, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines. The primary focus of these schools is to prepare military officers for service. Tuition at these academies is totally free, but the application process is incredibly competitive and requires academic excellence, a physical examination, and an official nomination from a US Congressperson. Typically, graduates are required to serve in the armed forces for several years as well. So, tuition is free, but students still “pay” with their service. For those who want a military style education, there are also state-funded and private military institutions. Their admissions requirements and tuition can vary — but typically are less competitive, and more expensive, than the five federally funded military academies.
Make sure you are making the right decision about your future. Have questions? Feel free to call 214-578-7222 now.