Parents as well as students intend to explore all the options for the next academic progress in their lives. There is a blurry line when it comes to identifying the difference between colleges and universities. People tend to think that the term college might indicate private school whereas a university may be a state or government funded institution. Some people believe that a student may receive better education at a university in contrast to the college. In reality, the differentiation between a college and a university could be harder to define.


A smaller institute that typically offers undergraduate programs is considered as a college. Majority of these colleges offer a four-year bachelor’s degree along with various two-year associate degrees. College is an institution that provides post-secondary programs for a degree at different levels such as associate or bachelor’s.


A “university” is a group of schools which is known to offer both undergraduate as well as graduate programs. Moreover, the university may also offer graduate program that may prepare an individual for a Ph.D. degree. An institution which comprises of multiple schools like medical school, Law College, college of engineering and many more forms a university. The university also offers a diverse curriculum and flexibility to choose courses to specialize in a particular program. Some universities provide students with a special program to earn both an undergraduate and a graduate degree in a shorter time span.

Universities are broadly classified into private and public. Private universities are administered by independent trustees whereas public universities are monitored by state or local governments. Private universities, being privately funded, are mostly smaller in size as compared to public universities and have higher tuition fees. The public schools majorly receive most of their funding from public funds and majority of them bear the name of the state they are located in.


To elaborate on whether to choose a university or a college to pursue a program, this decision depends solely on the student’s needs. Both university as well as colleges are academically sound.  If the student wishes to attend a school that offers variety of programs, then university would be an ideal choice.

It is important to understand that the name of the school is less important and more attention must be paid whether the school suffices your academic needs. You should ideally make a decision based on your expectations such as a dual degree program offered by a university or an associate degree presented by a college giving your career a kick start.

Ms. Sanjana Sanzgiri

Senior Counselor

Imperial Overseas Education Consultants

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