The Difference Between Public and Private Colleges

Categories: Admissions Advice

castle-336498_1920Private vs. public, junior college vs. four-year university, for-profit vs. nonprofit … this college jargon is enough to make anyone’s head spin! Here’s a rundown of what some of these terms mean to help you with your college search.

What’s the Big Difference Between Public and Private?
In a nutshell: The funding. Public schools get most of their funding from state governments and private colleges receive theirs from private donations and tuition.

Junior colleges (sometimes called community colleges) are government-funded two-year colleges that grant associate’s degrees and certificates. Many students attend these schools for a year or two before heading off to a four-year university to complete their degree.

Which Costs More?
This difference in funding often means the sticker price of a public universities is lower than a private institution. The average cost for undergrad tuition and room and board at a public school was $15,022 at a public school, according to 2012-2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Compare that to $39,173 at private nonprofit colleges.

While costs should play a role in your college decision process, don’t write all private colleges just because the average price is higher. You may receive scholarships or grants that make the cost equal to – or less than – a public university.

Are Private Schools More Challenging?
Not necessarily. You hear about academically tough private schools like Harvard and Yale all the time, but there are plenty of public universities that really make you work for good grades. UCLA, West Point, the University of Michigan, and Virginia Tech are just a few examples.

That being said, keep in mind that private schools often try to keep class sizes small. While some public universities are able to do the same, they sometimes have large lecture classes with several hundred students. This can make it difficult for some people to understand the material, let alone show up every day!

No matter what your academic background is, there’s are both public or private schools that will allow you to thrive. Add a few of each to your college list as you continue your college search.

How Are the Student Bodies Different?
Private colleges often have smaller student bodies, but some are just as large as their public peers – this gives you plenty of chances to meet new people. But one big difference can be the number of in-state students. Most public state schools offer lower tuition to local students, so you may find more people from your area at a public university than a private college. 

Hopefully this clears up the questions you had about public and private schools, but feel free to reach out on Facebook or Twitter with more questions. 

Original Post Date: November 4th, 2015

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The Perks of Being a Social Butterfly

friendship-659707_1920Maybe you thought about joining a club or volunteer group freshman year, but never got around to it. Then you imagined starting fresh sophomore year … but you still haven’t done it. Is it still worthwhile to get involved? Yes, and here’s why:

You’ll Meet New People
You probably made some new friends last year, but there’s never any harm in expanding your circle, right? Even if you’re perfectly happy with your group, joining a club helps you improve your social skills, learn to make small talk, and get comfortable connecting with people you don’t necessarily have anything in common with.

It’ll Look Good on College Applications
Colleges admissions counselors are on the lookout for well-rounded students or teens who have a talent in a certain area. Become one of the kids they’re dying to recruit by getting actively involved in a club, sport, or volunteer program. The thing that gets you into your favorite school on your college list could be your devotion to a certain extracurricular activity.

You’ll Make Connections
For most high schoolers, the main perk of after-school activities is all the friends they make. But what about all the teachers, parents, coaches, and administrators helping your club along the way? Getting to know one of these people well could be helpful down the road when you’re looking for help with a recommendation letter for your top-choice college or a big scholarship.

Original Post Date: November 4th, 2015

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How to Save Your Grades


If you’re struggling to keep your grades up, you’re not alone. A few missed assignments, one bombed test, and suddenly you’re struggling to dig yourself out of a deep hole. Spare yourself the lousy transcript, low GPA, and fights with Mom and Dad. Here’s how to get ahead again.

Ask for Help
The best solution to any problem is usually the most obvious. Your teachers are there to help you, but it’s amazing how few students ask for help. Speak up! If you feel awkward asking for help during class, visit during lunch, office hours, or after school. You’ll get the help you need and your teachers will be impressed you took the initiative to come to them.

Get Organized
Write down every single homework assignment, test, and essay you have coming up on a calendar. You can use this to create a study schedule and make sure you don’t miss any deadlines and get started studying for tests more than a day in advance.

Try the Tutoring Center
Is there a stigma surrounding your school’s tutoring center? Ignore it. Walk in with your head held high, because this is a place you can get some one-on-one attention and finally start making sense of your algebra book.

Start Early
We tell ourselves we work better under pressure, but that’s almost never true. Don’t wait to get started on an assignment, study for a test, or ask for help fixing a bad grade. Putting it off only means it’ll be harder to get started and earn the grades you want.

Make Extra Credit Your BFF
Ask every teacher for extra credit. Some don’t offer it, but those who do may let you turn in old assignments for partial credit or do some extra work on the side to boost your grade.

Better grades won’t just keep your parents off your back. Higher grades boost your chances of getting into your dream college and improve the odds you’ll win a merit scholarship. You’re in control of your future right now, so make yourself proud and start studying!

Original Post Date: November 4th, 2015

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