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Difference between US Colleges and Universities explained
The education system in the United States is complex. Americans tend to use the words University and College somewhat interchangably.
College is often used in a more general sense like "I'm going to college this year" and may refer to a smaller school or a private school. University, on the other hand, is usually used in a more specific sense like "at Ohio State University." and generally refers to a large school consisting of several colleges, graduate schools, and professional schools.
Most US universities offer undergraduate studies in their liberal arts and sciences. Students prepare to appy to college during their junior, or third, year of high school. During this year high school students take the nationwide standardized test called SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test.
Each university establishes the minimum SAT score, the university's admissions department looks at each candidate's grade point average, GPA, and the student's talents, skills, or leadership abilities. Undergraduate studies normally last for four years. Students enroll in classes that carry a predetermined number of credits. A typical undergradute course has a predetermined number of credits, approximately 125 in most colleges. During the first two years as an undergraduate all students in the college are required to take general courses. Most undergraduate students enroll in courses in the fields of the arts, sciences, foreign languages, philosophy. Students may enroll in elective specialized courses, depending on the students' degree and concentration.
The objective is to have a basic general interdisciplinary foundation. Students have less flexibility when it comes to the courses that are required for their major or concentration.
Undergraduate Degrees awarded
At the end of four years, students earn either a Bachelor of Arts(BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS), depending on the major or concentration they selected. This degree is not a graduate or professional diploma.
Students who want to become lawyers or doctors must continue with graduate studies.
Graduate StudiesGraduate studies follow the same credit system, but the course of study generally does not offer much flexibility in the selection of courses, because the study program is more specialized. Professional schools are institutions that are affiliated with a university and specialize in only one field of study, such as medicine, dentistry, law, or business administration.
The time it takes to finish a degree in these fields depends on the major or concentration. In some cases, a student is required to fulfill field study or specific training that prolongs the process of getting the graduate degree.
This article is part of the series of post on Study in America