Which Type of Institution is Right for Me?

Student Cycling on Campus

What we all love about the North American higher educational system are all the different options students have access to. So many paths to choose from! Although this is very exciting, it can be a bit confusing to an international student who is trying to figure out where to apply.  Here is some information about some of the different types of institutions that exist, to help you find your way.

College vs. University

When listening to Americans, you will hear them talk broadly about going to “college”. However, there is a notable difference between what we call a college and what we call a university.  This difference is found in the size of the school system. Universities will usually offer both undergraduate and graduate programs. They are larger in size and often made up of different schools or colleges (school of management or college of engineering for example). Colleges tend to be smaller and have smaller size class, usually allowing for easier access to the professors.

Private vs. Public

What defines an institution as public or private is how they are funded. To an American, this can be a big decision factor as in-state students are offered more affordable tuition. However, all international students are considered out-of-state and the difference in cost between private and public is therefore not as important, especially with the Go Campus scholarship!

The other noticeable difference between a private and public establishment is their size. A public institution will usually have a larger student body whereas a private one will often be smaller, allowing for more personal attention from the faculty.

Liberal Art Colleges

Liberal Art Colleges are probably the most unknown type of institutions to international students. Not many countries outside the US offer this type of higher education.  With their wide academic offerings and expansive areas of study, their objective is to develop the general intellectual capacities of students.

So Which Type is Right for Me?

Remember that choosing your college or university isn’t about attending the most popular one or the best-ranked one. A private college is not better than a public university, or vice versa. It’s all about finding the right fit! Make sure you set your goals and restrictions, do your research and carefully consider every school presented to you with before making your decision.

Sandrine first became an international student when she was 10 years old and hasn't stopped since. Over the years, she has studied/worked in France, England, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and the USA. She brings her passion of travel and writing together to inspire students to embark on their journey around the world and discover its many cultures.

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