Thursday, October 31, 2013

Colleges and Universities - Which is Best For Me?

The terms "colleges" and "universities" are frequently used interchangeably - and many (if not most) four-year colleges often offer the same services and academic opportunities as universities. It's not really about size, though universities are frequently larger, better funded and more prestigious than colleges. It's more one of governance and administration. Colleges are single institutions, much like public high schools, whereas universities are extended collections of institutions; a single university may contain several colleges that operate semi-autonomously under a single administration; each college has its own dean and its own curriculum. While attending a university, a student may take courses from several different colleges.Universities are also much more expensive. This is why it may be smart to consider starting out one's academic career at on the the nation's many two-year community colleges.Tuition and fees at community colleges are substantially lower than those at universities; course offerings are correspondingly more limited. Some community colleges offer music and art courses, but mainly, courses are confined to basic academic subjects - mathematics, lab sciences, social sciences and language. This is the primary reason that many students choose to attend community colleges; it is an economical way to complete basic education requirements, or lower division course work that is common to both four-year colleges and universities. These two-year institutions offer what is known as an Associate of Arts degree, which generally allows the student to enter a university with junior (third year) class status; at this point, the student can focus on his/her major field of study.Another way to save a great deal of money otherwise spent on fees, tuition and other assorted and sundry expenses is credit-by-examination. Most colleges and universities offer the College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP. By demonstrating your mastery of a given subject on a standardized test, you can receive full credit for the course without ever setting foot inside the classroom - and the cost per credit is a fraction of the full tuition.It's worth considering that while the cost of attendance of colleges and universities is high in the U.S. as compared to other countries, there is a flip side; virtually anyone in the U.S. who can afford it can attend, whereas in Korea, Japan and the E.U., such institutions are extremely selective. Relatively few people in those countries even get an opportunity to attend college because of the nature of public education in those countries. High school students must pass rigorous exams that essentially determine the course of their lives