With thousands of colleges and universities in the United States alone, it’s no surprise that there are various kinds of schools that you can attend to get your higher education. It may seem overwhelming, but once you decide what type of atmosphere you’d like to be a part of you’ll find that it will be easier for you to narrow down your college list. Here is a comprehensive list of colleges, in which each type will be explained and weighed for pros and cons, to help you in your search.
In-State vs. Out-of-State Colleges
The first dilemma that most students come across when starting their college search is whether they would feel happier staying in their home state or not. This varies from person to person, for some people have strong connections to their state and would rather not leave it, but others may yearn to go to college in another state for new experiences and opportunities. Personal preferences aside, though, a big factor in choosing whether to go in-state or out-of-state is how tuition rates line up with your current financial situation.
By now, you probably know that going out-of-state for your higher education can be a lot more expensive than staying in state. In fact, on average, it costs $8,990 more for students to attend a college or university in a state where they are not a resident. This should not deter you from applying to the colleges of your choice, though, for you still have the chance to get scholarships and be a part of tuition exchange programs for aid.
If you want to be a more independent student, you should definitely look into applying to out-of-state universities, even if you are not necessarily keen on leaving your home state. Limiting your search to your state is not beneficial to you, and you should instead look broadly for you college choices. You’ll never know what you’ll find if you never try!
Private vs. Public Colleges
Once you have figured out whether you want to stay in your home state or not, you now have to figure out whether you want to attend a public or private university.
Private colleges tend to be a lot smaller than public colleges, with undergraduate usually staying in the mere thousands. This can be beneficial because you can have easier access to professors with smaller class sizes. At public schools, you may get lost in the crowd in class and it may not feel as personal as you feel your educational experience should be. If you love being in a busy atmosphere with a lot of people together, however, going to a public college may sound appealing to you.
Another difference between these schools is that at public schools, you will usually find a larger range of majors that you will at private schools. This is because a lot of private schools have certain academic focuses, like engineering or medicine with better resources and greater opportunities for research, while public colleges don’t necessarily have focuses. If you want to go to a college that is somewhat oriented to your field of study, looking into private schools is a good idea.
Of course, we cannot discuss public and private schools without talking about the cost. As public schools are funded by state governments and citizens’ taxes, it is significantly cheaper for you to go to one of them rather than private schools. Private colleges rely on fees, tuition, and rare donations in order to keep running, and that drives the price of tuition way up; in fact, tuition doesn’t change for people in that state or out-of-state. This is beneficial in a way, for private schools can be region-blind when it comes to accepting students because all who enroll will pay the same amount of tuition, unlike in public schools that accept students that are mostly from the state that they are in.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
An HCBU, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, is “any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.” Even though these colleges are historically black, however, they offer all students, regardless of race, chances to further their talents in their higher education.
At these schools, opportunities may be specifically tailored to African-American history and experiences, which adds to the close-knit community that already exists. This atmosphere is said to be safe and nurturing by graduates, and if you are looking for somewhat familial ties in your college experience, an HCBU may be right for you.
Religiously Affiliated Colleges
People may shy away from colleges that coincide with a religion, especially if they don’t practice the same religion or any religion at all. You don’t necessarily have to be of the same religion to attend one of these schools and definitely should not let that stop you if you really like an academic program in a school, but you should be wary of what kind of community the school has. For example, religion may intersect with student life when it comes to dress code, curfew, single-sex dorms, and more. Make sure to do your research on a specific school if you are interested, and get a tour if possible. This will allow you to make sure that the atmosphere is right for you.
If you do practice the same religion as a school you are interested in, though, this can be extremely beneficial to you. You can get involved in clubs to further your spiritual growth and attend your specific church with fellow students. This allows you to be in an accepting and familiar community of people who understand you and already have a deep connection with you through religion.
Hopefully, through this article you have gained valuable insight into what type of college you’d like to attend after you finish high school. Now that you have this knowledge, go and research these schools and narrow down your list of possibilities!