Private vs. Public College

Private vs. Public College

Students will have to make many difficult decisions when it comes time to choose the right college. One of those decisions will have to do with whether to attend a public college or a private college. Many states feature great public and private universities. They have their strengths and there are some definite weaknesses to each school type. So, how does one choose? What are the things to keep in mind when making this difficult decision? Here are some of the pros and cons associated with choosing either a public college or a private one. Advantages of public collegesThe cost factor
One of the most important advantages of attending a public college is that it will cost less most of the time. This is especially true for a student who will attend a school in his or her state. How great are the savings? In some cases, a public school can cost half as much as a private school. Public school attendees are also eligible for more forms of state-funded financial aid. These are things to think about for the student that is worried about his debt load upon leaving college. The cost factor is a big selling point for public universities.Large alumni bases provide networking possibilities
Another nice thing about most public colleges is their size. A big alumni base can be helpful to a young person looking for a job. This is especially true when one considers that most public colleges have a wide offering of different major programs. With more alumni spread out over more industries, public schools have more to offer in the way of networking volume.Disadvantages of public colleges

Overwhelming size
The downside to most public colleges is the overwhelming size. Some students simply do not want or need to be in an environment that big. They would be much better off in a school that offered intimate class settings. Public universities tend to have larger individual class sizes for freshman courses. This can make the college transition a difficult one.

The bureaucracy of public colleges
Another thing to consider is how bureaucratic a public college can be. These are state run institutions. As such, there is little flexibility with some of the policies. Their departments can be difficult to work with for students. This is a practical issue that might come about when dealing with a registrar, the financial aid staff or in any disciplinary matters.


Advantages of private colleges

Smaller class size
One of the nice things about a private college is that it will typically be much smaller. This means that you will have an opportunity to form more of a community with your fellow students. You will also benefit from small individual class sizes. This will help the transition process. It will also help you get more out of the discussions in each class. Some students might not be looking for this kind of experience. Others will find it to be a refreshing change of pace.

Relationships with professors
One of the things that private schools offer is a more accessible faculty. The small nature of these universities means that people can form bonds with certain professors. This can make the learning environment much more fun. It can also help students who want to find jobs or internships. Professors can usually lend a helping hand for students who have a specific interest in one field or another.


Disadvantages of private colleges

The cost factor revisited
Private schools tend to cost a lot. They do not have the benefit of state funding. This means that they have to pass the cost on to students. Some students will find this to be a major deterrent. You should know that many private colleges come through with huge scholarship programs to help meet this cost. This is all dependent upon the individual school.

Smaller number of available majors
Another characteristic of private universities is that they typically have more targeted degree programs. Many public universities offer a wide range of different degree options. Private schools tend to focus on a few different areas. This can be problematic for students that are not quite sure what they want to do. Many students will change their major during the first year of college. Going to a school with limited options can cause a problem in this regard.


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