As you head onto the next chapter in your life and education, you’re faced with the inevitable debate as to whether you should attend college or university. While the decision simply comes down to whether you want a diploma or a degree, or rather, what career you want to pursue, there are many other deciding factors that will and should come into play.
Colleges offer more career-focused opportunities, such as education and training in trades, apprenticeship, language, skill upgrading, entry-level and vocational positions. University offers more academic and professional programs that are broader in terms of what careers can be pursued after completion. However, both college and university focus on different learning styles, and understanding the differences can help you make the decision as to which one is best for you.
Why Choose a College Education?
There’s a common misconception that a college education is less valuable than a university education. However, the truth is that college is simply different from university. It provides education for more specific fields with a tactical, hands-on learning experience. As such, there are many benefits that follow:
- Education focuses on specific careers, such as journalism, nursing, skilled trades, etc. as opposed to English, medicine and science
- Theoretical and hands-on learning
- Gain actual field knowledge and experience, as opposed to education from a textbook
- Available apprenticeship programs to get you in the industry
- Less time is required to obtain a diploma
- 2-3 year programs
- 4 year programs
- Tuition is generally cheaper
Why Choose a University Education?
With all the amazing benefits that come with a college education, you may be wondering why you should consider a university education. As mentioned, it all comes down to what you want to do for a career. Universities offer graduate and professional degrees in a variety of fields, such as psychology, mathematics, history, etc. The programs are less specific than those of a college. Additionally, you have the benefit of majoring and minoring in specialized fields, and can advance your education with a Master’s or PhD. There are many more benefits that follow:
- Higher degrees can open up more career advancement opportunities
- Education focuses on independent learning
- Learn from lectures, textbooks, theses, etc.
- Learn the value of independence
- Participate in research in your respective field
- Specialize in your particular field, and be qualified as an expert
- Good investment that looks highly reputable on a resume
What About Joint Programs?
Although college and university educations are quite different from one another, many now offer joint programs that apply both field and theoretical learning. In these cases, the courses you take in college can be part of a 4-year education at university. However, generally, both college and university programs are kept separate as they are quite distinctive to begin with, but it may be worth it to get the best of both worlds.
While there are many benefits to both a college and university education, it ultimately comes down to the career you want to pursue. However, if you struggle with textbook learning structures, college could be the better option for you. And if you want to obtain a minor and major in your field of study, university may be the better option. Consider your career goals, and the type of environment that caters to your learning style, and you will quickly discover which educational path is the best one for you.