Public vs private colleges
The main difference between public and private schools is how they’re funded.
Public universities receive some money from their state governments. Private institutions don’t receive public money, and therefore, rely on private endowments, contributions, and tuition.
Private colleges and universities tend to be, on average, more expensive than public. However, that might not be the case for you. It depends on the financial aid that’s listed in your financial aid offer.
Don’t rule out a private university because you think it’s too expensive. Many private schools have college grants and scholarship programs to attract and retain top students.
As for their size, since public universities use public funds, they can be huge. Some state universities have over 40,000 undergraduates alone! They may also have a wider variety of majors and programs than many private universities.
Private schools tend to be smaller, and often have a specific range of majors or fields.
How to choose a college
Here are five primary factors to consider when figuring out what is most important to you:
1. Majors offered
What do you want to study? What do you want to do professionally? Will this school help you do those things?
Are you okay riding a shuttle to class, or do you want a small, walkable campus?
Think about the total cost of college. That includes transportation, food, technology, books, and more. It’s not just tuition. Are you willing to take out federal student loans or private student loans?
4. Distance from home
Do you dream of experiencing a new part of the country (again, consider the costs of travel for four years)? Or is staying in-state a priority for you? Have you considered commuting to save money?
5. Campus location
Does a busy city inspire you? Or would you rather have easy access to nature?
Choosing a college is an adventure
My last piece of advice is to start your college search early. Give yourself plenty of time to do research and visit schools, without feeling frantic.
Have fun and be open to the unexpected!