Public Colleges and Universities are predominantly funded by public means through a combination of federal, state, and city governments. In contrast to privately funded “Private Colleges,” most Public Colleges offer discounted tuitions to in-state students. In the United States today, every state has at least one state-funded public institution of higher learning, with many states such as California and New York boasting a plethora of options. While many private schools have historically been included in the top tier of college rankings, a considerable number of prestigious Public Colleges are consistently deemed “top colleges.”
Public Colleges and Universities:
Deciding which undergraduate college or university to attend is one of the biggest decisions of a prospective students' life. Should I stay close to home or go far away? What do I want to study? Do I want to be in an urban environment, around a city setting or on a park-like campus? What entrance exams and standardized tests do I need to take? Does the school require a high SAT test score or will they accept the ACT? Do they look for AP courses or a high GPA with more extracurricular activities?
Also quite important is the question: How do I choose between attending a private or public college? Including a mix of public and private colleges in the initial college admissions application list usually makes sense, as there are certainly many differences to consider:
Recent News about Public Colleges:
One of the biggest differences between public and private colleges is cost. Public state schools are largely supported by state taxes and are more affordable than a private university. For many state residents, public colleges are a good option as tuition is usually set at a reduced rate with many students also being eligible for a variety of state funded scholarships to offset expenses, especially those with good grades and high SAT scores. Students can increase their scores by taking an SAT prep course or working with an affordable online tutor. If you choose to go to a state school nearby your home, another way to save on room and board costs is to be a commuter student.
While private colleges and universities are often more expensive than a public college, students don't necessarily have to put their dreams of the Ivy League on the back-burner. Financial aid is one option to consider, as are scholarships and grants that significantly cut your actual cost. Some believe that private universities offer some advantages over public colleges, such as small class sizes and more personal attention. Students looking for a wide range of majors and lots of school spirit may assume a public university is the best option. After college, private school alumni are usually very active and can be of great support in networking and job searching.
Whether a student chooses a public or private school, if they limit their search to only public or only private colleges they can be missing out on a great experience. It's important to look carefully at each individual college - students are wise to not rush to judgment and making sure to visit the school if at all possible to see and feel its energy. One might be surprised where they eventually find themselves spending the next four years of their college experience.