The months of March and April are typically the time when seniors decide what they want to do with their lives. Seniors who choose to attend a four-year university will have to choose between two paths in life: private or public universities.
One factor that may affect their choice is that public universities tend to be cheaper than privates. According to USA Today, the average in-state public four-year university costs around $8,655 per year compared to a private nonprofit four-year cost of $29,056. Cal State and UC schools, for example, are both cheaper than private universities. Depending on the college, however, costs may fluctuate drastically.
Privates also tend to have a lower population compared to a public university. Students who prefer more socialization and bigger classes might prefer a public university with a larger and more diverse group of people. For example, University of California, Los Angeles had over 42,000 students in 2013, according to the UCLA admissions website. Compared to a private university like Pepperdine University that only had a total of 3,538 students, public universities are perfect for students who want to attend a highly populated college.
The great debate of which type of university is better will always affect the decision of seniors across the U.S. Tuition and population of a specific school can help students determine whether they prefer a private or public university.
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Known to seniors as the dreaded deadline date, May 1 signifies an important shift in their lives, raising the age-old question: private or public schools?
While public colleges may be cheaper, private colleges are more beneficial for both financial and educational reasons. As a result of their endowment, private universities are more likely to meet 100 percent of their students’ financial aid needs, whereas public universities do not always have the funding to do so.
Private universities also tend to have a smaller student population, resulting in a lower student-to-teacher ratio. Smaller class sizes mean the teacher is able to work more closely with students, making it easier for students to truly understand the material.
A smaller student population also results in greater availability of classes, ensuring that students get into the classes they need in order to graduate within four years. With public universities and larger class sizes, it becomes a competition to get into the classes required for graduation—oftentimes, students at public universities cannot graduate within four years. A supposed benefit of a large population may be more socialization. However, both public and private universities have thousands of students, meaning wherever you go, friends are plentiful.
In the long run, the benefits of privates outweigh those of publics.