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Public vs. Private Schools: Make an Informed Decision

The easiest distinction to make between private and public colleges or universities is the cost of tuition. In general, tuition at a private institution is higher because of their reliance on giving from alumni or supporters for their funding rather than receiving funding from the state or government.


Public colleges or universities can offer lower tuition rates because of the state funding they receive. They are also able to give tuition breaks to students who are residents of the state of the public college. This makes public colleges very attractive to in-state students as well as to out-of-state students.

Public colleges may not carry the same level of prestige as a private college. The requirements for public colleges are often lower then private colleges. For some this may be unappealing, but it does provide for a more diverse group of people whom one can interact with during college.

Just because the requirements are lower does not mean the education is lesser. Public colleges are just a rigorous as private colleges. Depending on the size of the institution a public college may offer a broader range of courses to study. Take a look at your interests to see if the private or public college offers you the classes you want and need.

A drawback to private colleges is that they can afford to be choosy. Private colleges often have higher requirements for their students. This makes the entry process very competitive, so when applying to private institutes, be prepared.

The size of public colleges may be a deterrent for some people. It may feel to some students that the campus is too large and with too many people. If the student comes from a smaller, more intimate high school, it can be fairly overwhelming to experience the sheer size of the classes. Yet that could be a part of the appeal.

Some people looking for a university want the prestige of attending a private university that is well known. Many people want to attend a school that is known for its excellent program and has known reputation as a learning institute. As a rule, private universities offer just that kind of reputation for their students.

In the smaller setting of the private college it is easier to get to know more students. Because of the nature of smaller classes, students feel more connected to their peers. It is also easier to gain access to your professors in a private college setting, which can be benefit to learning.

Private colleges also work to create community for their students, often providing extra activities and programs to build relationships. This can be a real benefit, especially if the student is far from their home area and looking to be connected into a broader community.

No matter which you choose the best way to determine which college setting, private or public, is best for you is to visit the campus. Each college has their own unique feel and the one you think is the best fit for you on paper may not feel that good when you get there.

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