Comparing Private and Public Colleges and Universities

Private colleges are better than public schools despite the cost and here is why. Public colleges and universities have to answer to too many governmental and state agencies. They are overcrowded and highly competitive. There is a lot of red tape and hoops to jump through in order to get accepted at a public college (if you do not think so, check out the lines in financial aid, counseling, at the academic advisor’s office, work study and admissions). The classes you attend may have 100 students or more with the professor talking to you in stadium seating through a microphone. More students mean less available choices at registration time.

Private colleges can waive any requirement at their discretion, with the exception of federally mandated regulations. This means they might reconsider your acceptance with a written essay, internship or special counseling/probation prior to enrolling. You do not see the same long lines or overcrowding. Classes may be smaller with perhaps 12 students per professor, so that you get individual attention. Your papers and essays will be carefully read and commented upon.

Public universities are funded by a wide range of people and interests. If you are lucky, you might know the person that the universities’ buildings are named after or your parents were alumni. Private colleges cost more and your money is as good as anyone else’s. Exceptions can be made for the out-of-state student, promising gifted student, minority, handicapped or just plain “financially poor” student. The professors seem more relaxed. Probably because they have more freedom and time to accomplish their own academic achievements and there is no peer envy.

Public universities often pawn off the classes to graduate-level teachers. The professors may even find they have to do a lot of traveling and speaking engagements (honorariums) just to keep up appearances. This is not to say that public universities do not have high quality teachers, they do. However, the university boards and financial directors probably do not have the same flexibility as private colleges do to decide who gets what, when and how.

As a student, don’t let just the cost of private college scare you off. Financial aid can help and the cost is well worth it…you get what you pay for, the best.