College or University?

College or University?

For many students, university is the immediate goal after high school. The appeal of
moving away from home, of not attending a local community college, can be very
strong. There are many reasons for this – while colleges and universities offer
much of the same programming for first year students, there is often more perceived
prestige and cachet in going directly to university. As well, the chance to be
away from home, far from the immediate supervision of parents and the pestering
of younger siblings, can be a powerful incentive.

There is often the perception that at universities, new students will find
erudite conversation and philosophical debates in every nook and cranny, and at
the same time, that there will be easy access to a plenitude of parties and
alcohol, whereas at colleges one will only find mature students returning to
school and younger students exploring the trades, and further to this, that
college is all work and no play.

It is wise to consider where these images of colleges and universities stem

Other than the distance factor, created by choosing to attend a school
far from home, the other aspects can largely be attributed to the media.
Popular television shows regularly portray university life as a succession of
dormitory central parties and social events, with education coming a far
second. When students are depicted studying, much emphasis is placed on the
high level of knowledge and the depth of topics. Few, if any, programs feature
characters attending community colleges, and if they do, there is a general
implication that colleges are very much second class, for poor or unintelligent
students who couldn't make it in university.

In all actuality, colleges and universities are more similar than portrayed.
While there is typically a greater variety of specialized classes in
universities, first, and often second, year students must typically take introductory
classes that are remarkably similar between colleges and universities.

in colleges are often much smaller, and therefore the opportunity to meet and
get to know classmates can be easier. And college students are as intelligent
as their university counterparts, and enjoy their social lives just as much. 

Jonathan Ginsburg
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