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As you may already know, there are several different types of colleges. To help you find your best fit, we broke down the most common types!

Private Colleges/Universities

A private college/university may be right for you if you like seeing familiar faces around campus. These schools tend to be smaller and more intimate. These are 4-year schools that do not receive government funding. Instead, they rely mainly on tuition, fees, and private sources of funding. Private donations allow some private schools to provide generous financial aid packages. This helps offset the cost of tuition to make their price comparable to public schools.

Public Colleges/Universities

A public college or university may be right for you if you want to go to a school that’s much bigger than your high school. These are 4-year schools that receive funding from the government. This allows them to offer lower tuition and fees. Public schools classify their students as either “in-state” or “out-of-state” for tuition purposes. In-state residents will pay lower tuition since their tax dollars are supporting that institution.

Junior/Community College

A junior/community college may be right for you if you’re looking to take basic courses and transfer to a 4-year school. Or you may want to attend because you want to pursue a career that only requires a 2-year degree. These colleges are 2-year schools that offer courses parallel to the freshmen and sophomore offerings at 4-year schools. Admission is open access, meaning if you apply and meet all basic requirements, you will be admitted. Although the school may be open access, certain specialized programs may have special requirements and have enrollment limits. This means the school may implement selective admissions for those programs. The price tag for these colleges is lower than private or public 4-year institutions because they don’t offer as many amenities.

Liberal Arts Colleges

A liberal arts college may be right for you if you prefer a small, intimate campus and appreciate a diverse, well-rounded curriculum. It’s likely if you are looking at four-year private colleges, you will encounter the term “liberal arts college” pretty frequently. As a student at a liberal arts college, you can expect to take courses in subjects like literature, history, languages, math, and science as a complement to courses within your major.

Vocational or Technical School

A vocational or technical school may be right for you if you are considering a career in a highly specialized field like welding, culinary arts, or dental hygiene. Vocation and technical schools offer certification or training within a highly specialized area that leads directly into a career in a short amount of time.

If you already have a career in mind, work backwards to understand the education and training you will need to land a job in that field. If you are unsure of the career you want to pursue (which is totally fine), you are better off selecting a school that has a wide variety of offerings. No matter the type of school you decide to attend, be sure to do a lot of research. This includes checking out accreditation status, financial aid opportunities, and students outcomes. That way, you can ensure your college decision is the best investment for your future!