Many people, college students included, aren't fully aware of the difference between a college and a university. In fact they often refer to much different things while the names are used interchangeably.  So just what is the difference between a college and a university anyway? In general -- and, of course, there are exceptions -- colleges only offer and focus on undergraduate programs. They may be smaller than universities because they only offer undergraduate degrees (think Bachelor's degrees). A certain college might be associated with a larger university (think: Harvard College and University but -- again -- that isn't always the case. On the other hand, universities usually offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. They can include Master's programs and Ph.D. programs. One of the first considerations should be the size of the school as you figure out where you want to go to college. Both large universities and small colleges have their pros and cons. Consider the following issues as you decide which type of school is your best match. Once you leave the west coast, you'll find more people who have heard of Stanford than Pomona College for example.

University vs college

There are several reasons why universities tend to have greater name recognition than small colleges - larger schools have more alumni around the world, larger schools are more likely to have NCAA Division I athletic teams with games on TV and at research-centered universities, the faculty often publish more and appear in the news more. In areas like business and engineering at a large university you are more likely to find robust undergraduate professional programs. You are more likely to have small classes, even in case the student/faculty ratio is higher than at a large research university at a liberal college. You’ll find far fewer giant freshmen lecture classes at a small college than a large university. In general, small colleges have a much more student-centered approach to education than large universities. This is connected to class size -- at a small college you'll usually find lots of opportunities to speak out, ask questions, and engage the professors and students in debate.  Teaching undergraduates is usually the top priority of the faculty. Tenure and promotion both depend upon quality teaching at a liberal arts college. At a large research university, research may rank higher than teaching. Also, at a school with master's and programs PHD the faculty will have to devote a lot of time to graduate students and consequently have less time for undergraduates. Small liberal arts colleges usually don't have graduate programs, so you won't be taught by graduate students. Having a graduate student as an instructor isn't always a bad thing at the same time. Some graduate students are excellent teachers, and some tenured professors are lousy. You'll want to be at a large university with Division I teams in case you want huge tailgate parties and packed stadiums. The Division III games of a small school are often fun social outings, but the experience is entirely different.