Every Kind of College and University Defined

There are different types of colleges or universities. There are various terms that colleges will use to define their institution. In this article, let us discuss the different kinds of colleges and universities.

TCM Staff

6th May 2020

There are different types of colleges or universities. Public or private is a way colleges define themselves. Also, there are two-year or four-year colleges. Moreover, there are various other terms colleges will use to define their institution. All types of colleges and universities are unique and offer great benefits to their students. In the United States, there is a wide variety of institutions that provide higher education. In this article, we discuss the different kinds of colleges and universities-

What are the Different Kinds of Colleges and Universities?

Four-year institutions are regarded as a college or university by people. Both colleges and universities provide a similar type of baccalaureate or bachelor’s degree.

Universities tend to offer masters and doctoral degrees, in addition to bachelor’s degrees. Some of the big universities might have divisions within the university called colleges. A university might have a College of Economics. There might be cases where Colleges may be smaller than Universities, but this does not always hold true.

Below we shall discuss the various types of Colleges and Universities that are present in the US.

Private Colleges/Universities

A private college is not funded or operated by the government, but it may be partially funded by endowments which are given by private donors. The tuition fee is generally higher than in public colleges. However, they might give some discounts or concessions. Private universities are more geographically diverse as tuition is the same price for students regardless of whether they are in-state residents or out-of-state residents. 

Public Colleges/Universities

A public college/university also called a state university, is funded by the public through the state government. It is funded by the local and state governments. They generally have lower tuition fees for in-state residents. Non-state students attending public institutions might have to pay higher tuition fees. They are either two-year colleges, also known as community colleges, or four-year public universities. Public universities are known to be demographically more diverse due to the lower cost of tuition fees.

Community Colleges

They are also known by few other names such as Junior Colleges, technical or city colleges. They play a significant role in preparing students for the workforce. They are two-year public institutions that offer certificates, diplomas, and associate’s degrees. Some states have started providing a small number of bachelor’s degree programs at community colleges. There are over thousands of community colleges in the United States and most of them offer a variety of degrees, certificates that prepare students domestically as well as internationally for their first entry-level job. They also serve as an access point to traditional universities.

Liberal Arts College

 Liberal Arts College, is a place of higher learning that focuses on classical themes and objectives. Their goal is not only to train students for a bright career, but also to challenge their beliefs, make them think critically, and transform them into global citizens. They permit students to delve into different disciplines rather than follow a strict academic schedule.

Research Universities

Research universities mainly focus on the research of professors and graduate students. These universities may be less adapted towards undergraduate teaching, but they can still provide exceptional experiences for students who are willing and also have the ability to seek out the resources they offer. 

Their main features include :

  • It provides more opportunities to interact with graduate students which also provides an insight to collaborate for advanced research projects.

  • It provides access to the latest technology

  • It provides wide options for students to choose majors from

  • They get more acceptance abroad compared to other colleges.

Art Colleges

They specialize in providing training in art which includes graphic designing, photography, etc. The majority of art colleges provide associate degrees or bachelor of fine arts (BFA).

Specialized and Mission-Driven Colleges

Specialized mission colleges educate specific groups of students. It was established to serve the students of the black community but now admit students of all races, but still have African Americans as a majority. It offers various activities, programs, and services with a  focus on the underrepresented students they enroll.


To conclude, every college is unique and fits into some or the other category. When most students talk about planning for college, they really mean that they are planning for education beyond the secondary level. You may even apply to schools in different categories. That’s fine as long as you have done enough research to see which ones best fit your needs, abilities, and interests. Hope this article helped you get a clear picture. Good luck!

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