Should Your College Be Public or Private?

Are you wondering where to attend college? Have you ever considered what the difference between public and private schools is? Is one better than the other? Does one cost more than the other? Figuring out all the nuances can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, so here to assist you is a brief consideration of the benefits and drawbacks of public and private colleges.

Name Recognition

Private schools have the upper hand here, as they typically have a reputation for high prestige, established professors, and are much harder to get into than their public counterparts (a factor which likely adds to their exclusive aura). On the other hand, public schools typically lack that crucial element of name recognition but usually have classes and professors that provide just as stellar of an education.

The Cost Factor

As one would guess, private schools cost much more than public in terms of annual tuition. However, one should take into account (and take advantage of) the number of grants and scholarships made available because of tuition. Conversely, public schools charge much less, both in terms of in-state and out-of-state tuition, making them the more ideal choice if you are on a budget and still want a quality education.

Access to Professors

It’s a well-known fact that most private schools have much smaller class sizes. Therefore, students get more individualized access to professors. This also means that professors can exert a greater influence on students, as they will be getting to know them more personally. In the case of public schools, gaining access to one’s professors can be quite the task. Unless you take the time to schedule a meeting with them sometime during their office hours, expect to be just another face in a one-hundred-person class.

Additionally, public colleges receive most of their money through the state. That means that their student body will likely consist of a large sample of in-state students, rather than the diverse array of students you will likely encounter at a private college. In this sense, the cost of both public and private is a trade-off–do you want to save a few thousand dollars or enable yourself to network with a wider array of connections? Whether you’re attending Brandeis University or going for UAB’s mba degree online, the answer is dependent on your personal situation, preferences, and learning style. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.


Believe it or not, public colleges have a wider array of available majors and minors than private colleges. Public colleges typically have a wide range of options, extending from more well-known degrees to more specialized ones. Private colleges focus on more specialized degrees where students would benefit from the individualized environment and time with their professors.