What are the differences between public and private universities?

As well as choosing which degree program interests you, another choice you'll have to make is whether to fill out a college application for a public or a private university. Although some of the degrees offered by both types of institutions may be similar, public and private colleges are actually pretty different. Knowing the differences could make your decision a little easier, and you should know what you're getting in to.

One of the most obvious and important differences between the two is the cost of tuition. Private universities are significantly more expensive than public colleges. This is because private educational establishments rely entirely on student and alumni contributions in order to operate. They receive no funding from state education departments or other public or federal sources of funding. In some instances, the cost of tuition at private universities can be as much as nine or 10 times the price of public universities.

However, the additional expense of attending a private college is offset by the prestige of going to one of these universities. Although they're much more expensive, earning your degree from an Ivy League school, or another well-known institution, can open many doors for you, and it looks truly impressive on your resume.

Even if your college application is impressive, and you have solid high school grades and glowing letters of recommendation, private universities are typically much harder to be accepted into. More students apply to private universities every year and, as such, these institutions can afford to be much more selective.

If you're lucky enough to be admitted to a private university, you'll probably find that the average class size, and student body overall, is typically much smaller. Not only does this allow for a more personalized, attentive learning experience, it can also make you feel like you belong to a community.

However, don't rule out public universities. Many of these establishments offer quality degree programs at substantially cheaper tuition rates. Although class sizes and the amount of people on campus may be a little larger, the student body may be more diverse. The chances of being accepted to a public university are much greater than private universities, and trying to find the college for you may be easier. It also allows you to consider studying elsewhere in the country, which can be a valuable and exciting experience.

Ultimately, fill out college applications for schools that offer the degree you want, at a price that works for your budget. Consider things like location, diversity of the student population and the cost, but above all, choose a school that offers a quality program in the field that interests you. 

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