Public, Private, or Online College?

My last post talked about factors to consider when applying to college. One of the important factors is the type of college, which then determines what kind of college experience you will get. In this post, I am going to talk about public college, private college and online college in details to help you decide which type fits you the most.

Comparison One: Tuition

Online college can save you a lot of money. (Photo by remark1983)

Online college can save you a lot of money. (Photo by remark1983)

  • Public College: Public colleges are supported by the governments. The tuition is usually less than that of a private college.
  • Private College: Private colleges cost a lot of money as we all know. However, students in private college usually do not pay the full tuition, because they have financial aid or scholarships. If private colleges value you, they will do whatever they can do, including offering you lots of scholarships, to keep you in their schools.
  • Online College: This type of education probably save the most money, because there is no cost of textbooks or some other fees.

If you want to know tuition of a specific college, use College Confidential website.

If you would like to hear real voices from public or private school students about tuition, check this article by Jonathan D. Glater.

Comparison Two: Class Size

  • Public College: Public colleges may have huge class size, especially for the popular or general courses. However, many public colleges have honor colleges that consist of excellent students and offer students smaller class size.
  • Private College: One of private college’s advantage is that it has small class size. Small class size can give you more chance to interact with professors and get more attention on you.
  • Online College: For online college, most of the time, you study by yourself. Obviously you do not have to worry about disappearing in a huge lecture hall with hundreds of students in it.

Comparison Three: Activities

  • Public College: Public college has all kinds of activities. It usually has a football team, too.
  • Private College: Some may not have a football team, which would disappoint some students.
  • Online College: Activities like sports team or clubs are limited.

Comparison Four: Admission Difference

  • Public College: Its admission process usually value test scores, grade point average, and strong curriculum the most, because it has to be more selective due to the large student population it attracts from in state and out of state.
  • Private College: Its admission process does not value “scores” as much as public college does.
  • Online College: It is easier to get admitted to online college than traditional college.

Comparison Five: Value of Education

  • Public College: In many college ranking reports, public colleges appear frequently in the top lists. Some people may worry that big student population would have bad influence on education, however, many find public education no different from private education.
  • Private College: As the bullet point above said, people may find private education better or worse than public education depending on individual situations.
  • Online College: Compared to traditional college, online college may not be valued as much.
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