Don’t forget to compare colleges!

It is extremely important to compare colleges.  If you’re like many people, you may be limiting your college options due to preconceived stereotypes. After all, many people view public colleges as lower in education quality but more affordable, while private colleges are often viewed as more pretentious and expensive but higher in academic excellence. While there is some truth to these notions, you should go ahead and apply to both public and private colleges.

Why You Should Apply to Public Colleges

– “Cheaper” does not mean “poor education” — Just because public schools generally charge less doesn’t mean they’re lacking academically. For example, Princeton University may be the top school in New Jersey, but you know what trails just behind it? Rather than the state’s other 14 private universities, it’s The College of New Jersey, a medium-sized public college not too far away. In fact, many public schools across the country do outrank a lot of their private school counterparts.

– State schools may have stronger “identities” — As far as sports and regional pride go, state schools are where it’s at. They often have much larger fan-followings, which could translate over to more networking opportunities. For example, two of the most popular schools in Texas are Texas A&M and University of Texas at Austin, both public universities with huge fan bases that attract employers from around the region.

– More diversity can be experienced — Public colleges tend to be more diverse than private schools, both in terms of race and ethnicity as well as socioeconomic status. Spending four years among people with different backgrounds is a great way to achieve personal growth and greater understanding of the world around you.

Why You Should Apply to Private Colleges

– Higher tuition rates can mean more financial aid — Private schools actually tend to give out higher levels of financial aid to their students. In fact, your tuition at a private school could end up being very comparable to (or even cheaper) than a public school of similar size and status.

– Facilities are often better — Many public schools do have excellent facilities, but the fact remains that private schools usually have a lot more money to spend on the buildings you learn in and live in. This means they can often be better maintained and updated more frequently.

– Private schools tend to rank better — While there are always exceptions (as mentioned above, many public schools have high reputations), private schools do overall tend to fare better in the rankings. Why? Simply because they can usually afford to be more selective.

The Bottom Line

The point is that you should not dismiss a college simply because of its private/public status. Be open to opportunities at different kinds of schools, and consider applying to both public and private institutions. Status aside, you should base your ultimate decision on where you feel you’ll thrive the most.