University vs. College

As you are finishing up high school, your parents are constantly nagging and asking you what your plan is after high school and what you plan to do with the rest if your life.

It’s a hard thing to decide, what to do for the rest of your life. Do you work, or do you go back to school? Do you take a year off and work to make some money, and then go to back to school? And, if you do decide to go to school, which should you attend, college or university?

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I changed my mind a few times before I figured out what I wanted to do. That’s why I ended up attending both university and college.

In my personal experience from completing both college and university, I found there were things that I liked and disliked about each of them.

When I first started university, I was excited with anticipation just like every other first year.

And when I attended my first class, I took out my pen and paper (as I didn’t have my laptop until a few weeks after I started school), ready to start listening to my professor and taking down notes.

However, after a few classes, you find out that one or two of your professors’ lectures are a little boring. You know the kind I am talking about, the ones that make you yawn and put you to sleep.

It is one of the negatives to getting a university education. Having to sit through long lectures from professors, some really exciting with great stories, while most of them are just a snore. Unless you are taking programs such as nursing or teaching that is, which have some hands-on learning as part of their training as well.

Some of the other cons of receiving a university education: the class sizes are much larger, which means that you have less opportunity and time to spend with a professor if you need help or have any questions to ask; your class assignments consist mostly of huge essay papers with a few presentations to do thrown into the mix; every class has a big exam at the end of each semester worth a large part of your final grade, and it costs a lot more.

Some pros to getting a university education: there is a greater variety of programs and courses that are offered, which means more subjects to choose from; more recreation sports offered for students to participate in, and you will have a higher credential (a degree) when you graduate.

College, on the other hand, is another story.

The first thing that I noticed when I started with college, is that the classes are a lot smaller compared to university, which is a huge plus. It meant that professors had more time to help us during classes if we needed it or if we had any questions to ask about an assignment or something that was covered in class.

And, I also liked the fact that all of my professors were either currently working for a newspaper as well as teaching, or had worked as a journalist at one point.  They could give us insight and advice on working in the field and what it really was like.

Some other pros to attending college are that your learning is much more hands-on and practical –  you practice what you learn.  Grades are based mostly on a bunch of assignments, a few small tests and very rarely an exam (at least that’s how it was in my experience), which was great for me because I’ve never been very good at exams, and it is a good deal cheaper than university, which is always a bonus.

The downside to getting a college education is the lack of variety of programs and courses that are offered.  Less recreational sports available for students to take part in (at least I found this at the college I attended) and upon graduation, you will have a lower credential (a diploma), which isn’t a bad thing.

The chart that follows sums up the differences between the two:

University College
▪ More lectured-based learning▪ Larger classes

▪ Less one-on-one time with teachers

▪ Presentations and essays for class assignments

▪ Major exams to take at the end of each semester worth a lot of your final grade

▪ More variety of recreational sports offered

▪ More expensive

▪ A higher credential when you graduate (degree)

▪ More hands-on and visual learning▪ Smaller classes

▪ More one-on-one time with teachers

▪ A few presentations and essays, and a lot of smaller kind of assignments

▪ Smaller tests (usually) to take at the end of each semester, or in some cases none at all

▪ Less variety of recreational sports offered

▪ Less expensive

▪ A lower credential when you graduate (diploma)

Both university and college offer opportunities to get a great education. For me, I preferred college over university.

It’s not that I didn’t feel like I learned anything from university, or that I didn’t enjoy the experience because I did.

But, I find I learn better when I get to practice what professors are teaching me in class. It helps me to better understand what I am learning because I get immediate feedback on my work.

That’s something you should think about when you’re trying to decide whether to attend university or college. If you learn better by listening to a lecture, reading a lot and writing essays and exams, then university is for you. But, if you learn better visually and by doing more hands-on work, then I would definitely recommend college.

Whichever one you choose, remember there is no wrong answer. Both are equally a great experience and very rewarding. Education is education after all. Isn’t it?

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