Public colleges and universities sometimes get a bad rap. There are many myths about public colleges that stop students from even considering them as viable college options. However, the real difference between public and private colleges is how they are funded. Public colleges receive money from their state government while private colleges are funded by tuition and donations. Public colleges and universities have a lot of great opportunities for students. Students should not dismiss public colleges based on the following five myths.
Myth #1: Public colleges are academically inferior
All colleges must go through an accreditation process to ensure they meet the standards that are required of all institutions of higher learning. If the college is accredited, they have passed the tests! Just because the college is funded by the state does not mean the education students receive is easier. In addition, some of the highest regarded colleges in the country are public institutions, such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Virginia. Public colleges have well-respected professors who are known for teaching, their research, and the opportunities they can provide their students. In addition, large public institutions might be able to open the door of many research, internship, and job opportunities.
Myth #2: Public colleges should only be your safety school
Students should not choose the colleges on their list based on how they are funded. Does the college have the major, activities, and resources you need? If it does, it should not matter if it is a public or private college. In addition, when it comes down to choosing the colleges for your list, it is important for you to find colleges that feel right for you. If a public college has everything you are looking for and it feels right, it is okay if it is your first choice!
Myth #3: Students at public colleges party all the time
You will find students who party at all types of colleges. And, you will find students who are very serious about their studies and never go to parties. If you want to attend a party, you will be able to find it! But, there will always be a good percentage of students who are serious about their studies and do not need to party all the time.
Myth #4: You won’t get to know your professors
Introductory classes are known for being large at public colleges. However, as students get deeper into their majors, the classes will become smaller. In addition, professors hold office hours that allow students to meet with professors one-on-one. If you want to be known by your professor, you can get to know them by attending office hours, volunteering for research opportunities, and participating in class. And, if you don’t seek out your professor the first year, you will definitely get to know your professors as you take upper division courses that are only open to students in the major.
Myth #5: There is no sense of community at public colleges
Public colleges vary in size from a few thousand to over 50,000 students. Large public colleges can seem intimidating, but you will find your community. An advantage public colleges can provide is a large number of student organizations and activities. Each activity you choose to participate in will allow you to get to know a small population within the college. In addition, you will get to know the other students who share your major. You will not get to know everyone at public colleges. However, you will find small communities within the big public institution.
Don’t let the myths about public colleges stop you from considering them. You might realize a public college is the best option for you!