The Basics on Types of Colleges

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The Basics on Types of Colleges

By Lexi Lee, News Editor

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With the Nov. 1 deadline quickly approaching for seniors, some are getting ready to hit ‘submit’ on their college applications for early decision or early action. On the other hand, some are still attempting to navigate what colleges are out there and what would be the best fit for them. With over 11,000 post-secondary institutions available worldwide, it’s a lot of pressure to narrow down the choices. However, knowing the type of institution one would like to attend will aid in the process.

To begin, there’s the choice between a public and private college. Public colleges receive funding from local and state governments, whereas private colleges receive their funding primarily from tuition, fees, private donations, and private sources. Due to this, public colleges are typically cheaper than private universities, especially for in-state tuition. However, because of donations to private colleges, there is a greater possibility for scholarship opportunities. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is the flagship public university in Illinois that costs around $15,000 in tuition for in-state students. Northwestern University in Evanston, a private institution, costs around $49,000 in full. However, the average financial package is around $39,000, making it more affordable to students.

Senior Simon Shamoon is choosing to apply to Northwestern University because of his love for the school; however, he is also planning on applying to more public universities.

“I want to apply to Northwestern because I love the campus. I’m [also] applying to public universities because they offer more scholarship opportunities and are generally cheaper. At the end of the day, it depends on how much they offer,” Shamoon said.

Other seniors like Tiffany Chin are applying to U of I and other public schools, but will likely not apply to Northwestern or private schools.

“I’d rather go to a public school because I feel like the tuition for private schools is too much,” Chin said.

The difference between public and private universities isn’t the only factor to take into account when choosing a type of college. One thing many students don’t realize is that there is a difference between universities and colleges. Universities are typically larger than colleges and offer a plethora of majors and degrees. Universities often contain several smaller colleges, such as a business or media college. For example, Northwestern University is the institution, but it contains smaller colleges, such as the Weinberg College of Arts and Communication or the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Another well-known type is a community college. Oakton Community College (OCC) is the local community college that students at West would attend. Community colleges offer two-year associate’s degrees that prepare students to transfer to four-year colleges later. These colleges offer an affordable option to students, as their tuition is often lower. OCC is around $9,000 in tuition for in-state students and is ranked 53rd nationally for community colleges, making it a solid alternative option to the traditional college or university.

If a student knows exactly what career or industry they want to pursue, vocational-technical and career colleges are ideal because they offer specialized training. Potential vocational studies include culinary arts, firefighting, and dental hygiene. These schools offer certificates or associate’s degrees for students.

Other colleges include specific focuses such as art colleges, single-sex colleges, and religiously affiliated colleges. Arts colleges have a focus on the arts in addition to regular coursework. Single-sex colleges are specifically for either men or women only. Religiously affiliated colleges are connected to a faith. Loyola University is an example of a Jesuit Catholic university in Chicago that incorporates the Catholic faith into its core curriculum.

Even though students may apply to a religiously affiliated college, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be practicing that religion. Senior Gaby Goldman is applying to Loyola University for reasons apart from the affiliation.

“The religious affiliation didn’t have much to do with me wanting to apply. I really focused on the types of programs they have, cost, size, and activities. For my major, I know that they have a great program, and I have a family member that went there so that was a big factor for me. Even though they have their religious affiliation, they have programs and clubs to join for many other religions, so it’s not like they’re exclusive to [Catholicism],” Goldman said.

For-profit colleges are businesses that offer various majors and degrees to students. These colleges usually have higher tuition costs which may lead to more debt. Also, their credits may not transfer to other colleges, so always be sure to check with the admission offices. DeVry University is a well known for-profit university in Chicago.

Regardless of what type of college or university you choose to attend, there are solid options out there for everyone. Be sure to get your applications in by Nov. 1 for the early deadlines.