Educational and Financial Benefits.
Private colleges and universities function independently of any public sources and government funds. These schools are privately owned and operated and maintain large endowment coffers that essentially give them the right to make their own rules and regulations even exempt certain students from attendance, such as religious colleges, women’s colleges, men’s colleges, and military colleges, to name a few. And if you think private colleges and universities are too expensive or “selective” for you, think again.
Benefits of Private Colleges and Universities
So what are the big differences between a private college or university and a public university?
Affordable High-Quality Education
A common myth is that the cost of attendance at a private college or university is out of reach of most students; only the rich kids get in because they can pay. Wrong. In fact most small liberal arts colleges make very attractive financial aid and grant offers to all types of students regardless of financial means. They may look expensive on paper, but truth is small colleges seek well-rounded student bodies, they work hard to include students from all regions, all ethnic backgrounds and all income levels. What’s more, because they are smaller they have more flexibility with admissions decisions and are more able to work individually with parents and students to create an affordable college education.
Example: Harvard, Amherst and a slew of other elite private universities and colleges have abolished student loan programs in favor of grants. This means that qualified students regardless of ability to pay may get a full or partial ride on the best campuses in the world.
Smaller Class Sizes
Since the campuses are typically quite small, private colleges also have small class sizes. This allows for greater student/professor interaction and a more engaging learning experience. It is doubtful that you will encounter the gigantic lecture hall on a private campus. When you’re considering type of school, imagine the type of classroom you picture for yourself and in which you see yourself thriving.
Greater Class Participation
Smaller classrooms and smaller professor-to-student ratios mean much more opportunity for engaged student participation. Timid students are more apt to communicate in a smaller intimate setting than a lecture hall full of a hundred students. Also a small group of students is more able to have quality discussions and interact on a more personal level with professors.
Unlike larger universities, private colleges put professors in every class. Large university courses may often be taught by professors’ assistants, or doctoral students instead of professors.
Disadvantages of a Private College
Just as there are benefits there also exist disadvantages to a small private college, particularly.
* For students that wish to pursue a graduate or doctoral degree, private colleges offer no degrees past baccalaureate.
* Smaller colleges often have smaller departments. Large universities can offer students huge and world-renowned facilities and professors that are leaders in their fields.
* Some students flourish in large, busy environments with a lot of very different people around.
Types of Private Colleges
Private colleges, as mentioned above, are able to make their own rules, set their own educational models. Here are a few of the distinctive types of private colleges:
* Women’s colleges are designed on the belief that women traditionally fail to receive a truly equal education alongside men, a belief that remains hotly contested. Small women’s colleges thrive because they offer students an intimate environment in which there are no co-educational distractions or competitiveness. Women may build self-esteem and are encouraged to take on fields of study historically dominated by men.
* Religious colleges cater to students of particular denominations, such as Baptist, Mormon or seminary students studying to be religious leaders. Campuses built on Christian fundamentals foster student spirituality in the larger context of higher education.
* Military colleges were originally male-only, but any that were publicly funded have now gone coeducational in response to a growing population of women seeking military careers. Military colleges train students not only in a broad range of academic courses, but also to be military leaders after college.