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College. university

Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up?Posts: 16,688
It may sound like a stupid question, but what is the difference between them? I've never managed to understand from the context in which the words are used...

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Americans use the word college for undegraduate studies.
    While the English use the word for the different institutions in a university or what one would call high-school.

    That's how I have understood it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    College is the alternative to 6th form, for years 12 and 13, doing A-levels or other vocational qualifications (age 16-18). Universities are higher education institutions, but three British unis (Oxford, Cambridge and Durham) have a collegiate system, where you apply to study at a college within one of these universities.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Luce
    three British unis (Oxford, Cambridge and Durham) have a collegiate system, where you apply to study at a college within one of these universities.

    not to confuse, but there are also things like associated colleges.

    like in leeds, there's the college of art, and the college of music/technology/building, northern school of contemporary dance, trinity and all saints, and there used to be bretton hall college, but now it's merged with leeds.

    these are all colleges in their own right, but they are accredited by the university of leeds.

    i think the major difference is that a university is huge and usually offers a wide range of subjects, while HE colleges (as opposed to FE colleges, which are something else altogether) are smaller, and more specialised, and are more likely to run vocational courses.


    we just like to confuse. :p
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    You actually managed to confuse me more... :)

    Here's why I'm asking: I've been using the word college to describe what I'm in, but I want to make sure it's the right one. I finished high school (all 12 years) and with the grades I got in the final exams, I qualified for the college/university I had chosen (as 90% of the population did). Which is the word I should use?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Zalbor
    You actually managed to confuse me more... :)

    Here's why I'm asking: I've been using the word college to describe what I'm in, but I want to make sure it's the right one. I finished high school (all 12 years) and with the grades I got in the final exams, I qualified for the college/university I had chosen (as 90% of the population did). Which is the word I should use?

    Just call it further/higher education and be done with it. :p

    Another point, college isn't just for years 12 and 13, I stayed into my 14th. But that's me being me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Here is my understanding of the question based on the Scottish system,

    People can leave school when they are 16 to go to a college which is further education. After around two years people can then progress from college onto university which is higher education.

    Or people can stay at school for another year/ two years and go directly into university based on their higher results without the need to go to college.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    ^
    There's something similar here. So I guess the right word is university.
    Thanks everyone for your answers.
  • KimonoKimono Posts: 201 Two little ducks
    Just to add further to your confusion...

    Some schools teach right up to 18 so sixth form is sixth form, not college. But if it's a separate institution you go to after GCSE's for A-levels and equivalent qualifications it's college.

    Big universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, London etc are made up of colleges. For instance, Cambridge University has 31 colleges and if you're a student there you belong to one of them. The teaching is shared by the colleges and university departments but your degree will be accredited by the university.

    Take me for example: I went to the University of London college of Queen Mary. It is an institution in its own right and has its own property in Mile End in east London while the School of Oriental and African Studies is right in central London near Russell Sq.

    Each college within a university will suit different needs. Three colleges at Cambridge are for women only. If you want to study History of Art at the University of London you'd only consider the colleges that teach it like The Courtauld Institute or Goldsmith's, not the London School of Economics. And if you're hoping to get a degree I'm sure you've already worked that one out...

    So if the university you applied for has colleges I guess you've applied to a particular college. In this case you should formally say the college and university, eg 'King's College, University of London'.

    At the end of the day though, 'college' can mean different things. You're at college now and you're applying to got to university.

    Clear as mud?

    K x
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