When starting your college search, students need to understand that there aren’t schools where one-size-fits all. There are many different types of colleges and universities and it is important to determine which one is the best fit for you.
Emily wants to know her professors and she is looking forward to challenging academics with a major in history. Alex is unsure of his interests but has average grades and would at least like to try college. Jen sees herself at a large school and would like to attend a university that is out-of-state.
Each of these students needs to know the different types of colleges and universities that are available. They should consider the factors that are important to them and begin their college search based on this information. Let’s take a look at some different types of colleges and which might be best for these students and you.
Community Colleges – These are one of the most affordable ways for students to begin their college education. Community colleges usually are open admissions which means that all students are accepted as long as they have a high school diploma or GED. Most community colleges offer a two-year degree. Students can often transfer to a four-year college or university or go directly into a career that doesn’t require further education. Some community colleges offer dorm living, but most do not. Community colleges usually do not offer a lot of activities or services for students.
State Universities – These are schools that are usually large and are funded mostly by tax dollars. Every state has at least one or more. These are usually less expensive for in-state students than many other schools. They offer majors in many different majors, lots of extracurricular activities, athletics, and many living options such as dorms, student apartments, and Greek housing. They offer four-year and advanced degrees. State schools vary in how competitive they are. Some are very selective in the college admissions process and others accept most of their applicants.
Liberal Arts Colleges – These are usually smaller schools that offer a broad education in the liberal arts. Many employers believe that the liberal arts are a good background for any career. Students who want a school that provides more personal attention and an opportunity to get to know their professors may prefer a liberal arts college. Professors who teach at liberal arts schools usually enjoy teaching and like to interact with their students. Some of these schools are very selective and others are less so.
Elite Colleges and Universities – These are the most competitive schools in the U.S. Some have less than 2,000 students, while others are quite a bit larger. They are academically demanding and often attract students who are bright and very motivated. Most of these schools have large endowments which enable them to spend a lot of money on top facilities and excellent professors. Most elite colleges and universities have a diverse student body. This group of schools includes the Ivy League, the public ivies, and other very competitive colleges and universities. They cost the most money to attend, but also offer scholarships and financial aid which can make them affordable for many students.
Two different kinds of colleges that students might also consider are specialty schools for areas like the culinary arts and online schools or distance learning.