Types of Colleges

What Suits You Best
With more than 3,400 colleges in the United States, itís a difficult task to determine what kind of college would you like to attend. Different types of colleges suit different types of people. Take a look at these descriptions to learn about the options available.

Liberal Arts Colleges
Liberal arts colleges offer a broad base of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Most are private and focus mainly on undergraduate students. Classes tend to be small and personal attention is available.

Generally, a university is bigger than a college and offers more majors and research facilities. Class size is often a reflection of institutional size, and some classes may be taught by graduate students.

Community or Junior Colleges
Community colleges offer a degree after the completion of two years of full-time study. They frequently offer technical programs that prepare students for immediate entry into the job market. Take a look at Midland Technical Collegeís Career Guide to see a wide variety of careers, salaries and educational requirements. http://www.midlandstech.com/careerguide/

Upper Division
Upper-division schools offer the last two years of undergraduate study, usually in specialized programs leading to a bachelor's degree. Students generally transfer to an upper-division college after completing an associate degree or after finishing a second year of study at a four-year college.

Agricultural, Technical, and Other Specialized Colleges
Has your child made a clear decision about a career after college? Specialized colleges emphasize preparation for specific careers. Examples include Art, Music, Bible, Business, Health science, Seminary, Rabbinical, and Teaching.

Public vs. Private
On the one hand, public colleges are usually less expensive, particularly for in-state residents. They get most of their money from the state or local government. Check out your state's Guide to Residency. Private colleges rely on tuition, fees, endowments, and other private sources. On the other hand, private colleges are usually smaller and can offer more personalized attention (and some believe, more prestige).

Special Interests

All four-year public colleges and most private schools are coed. In terms of single-sex colleges, there are about 50 specifically for men and about 70 specifically for women. Some may enroll a few men or women.

Religiously-Affiliated Colleges
Some private colleges are affiliated with a religious faith. The affiliation may be historic only or it may affect day-to-day student life.

Historically-Black Colleges
Historically-black colleges find their origins in the time when African-American students were systematically denied access to most other colleges and universities. These schools offer students a unique opportunity to experience an educational community in which they're part of the majority.

Hispanic-Serving Institutes
There are about 135 institutions designated by the federal government as "Hispanic serving." At these schools, Hispanic students comprise at least 25 percent of the total full-time undergraduate enrollment.

Adapted from The College Board