Private vs. Public Colleges



Let’s face it, there are too many choices when it comes to picking the right college.  Decisions need to be made about housing, location, majors, sports, clubs, cost, class size, diversity, and many more. One big decision is in regards to the type of school, should it be public of private?

So what is the difference between public and private colleges?

Private Colleges

  • Academically Challenging and student focused
  • Most have a common thread like critical thinking or technological advancement that is woven into their entire curriculum
  • Tend to be smaller so there is fewer social networks to choose from
  • Class size tends to be smaller
  • Professors are intensely involved in the academic lives of students. They are easy to access and expect students to attend class regularly.
  • Tuition cost is higher, but they offer bigger scholarships

Public Colleges

  • Tend to be larger, it is easier to be anonymous and you will see many faces you don’t recognize
  • Class size may be larger and professors are less involved in students’ academic lives
  • Tuition is lower and classes are challenging
  • A large number of campus groups and extracurricular activities
  • There is a wide choice of majors

So before choosing a college really think about the type of environment you will be most happy and successful in. Do you prefer larger or smaller classes? Does the college offer your intended major, athletics, and other extracurricular activities? Do you prefer anonymity or would you rather have a close relationship with your professors who can keep you on task? Some colleges do not have housing while others expect all students to live on campus. There is much to consider when narrowing down a college, but it is worth the effort. You don’t want to find yourself paying a lot of money to be somewhere that does not fit your educational needs. So take a few minutes, jot down your ideal school, and match those traits to your possible schools.

This information can be found by exploring the websites of colleges or doing a college search on sites like


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