There are over 4,500 universities in the US offering undergraduate degrees compared to the 130 schools in the UK. The sheer size of the US high education system makes it enviable in terms of choice and quality. Yet, the vast array of US schools means students can choose universities, at every level of selectivity, that align with their values, desire for certain classroom environments, and community activities they enjoy.
When choosing amongst universities in the US, understanding the difference between public and private schools is key.
Private Institution: The difference between private and public universities is also unique in the US. Essentially, most international universities are public: they are funded by the government and their policies are shaped and created by external national bodies. However, in the US, there are many private institutions which receive no direct government funding and can create their own policies regarding admissions and faculty. These are often smaller in size than public institutions and they may also be more expensive. However, they often have more resources for their students in terms of scholarships, funding for international students, and academic resources. All of Ivy League is private! If you are interested in learning more about how private universities and colleges compare, this article is a great place to start.
Public Institution: These schools are funded by the state and federal government and thus the fees are lower for students who reside in those states. These schools are designed to first and foremost provide a high quality and cost-effective education for in-state students. However, some of these schools rival their private counterparts in terms of quality, selectivity, and international reputation. For example, UCLA and UC Berkeley are public universities. Also, such notable schools as the University of Virginia, University of Michigan, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are also public universities. Students from all over the world attend these excellent schools. If you are curious about what other top US universities fall into this category, we recommend this resource.
If you want to get accepted to top US universities, we appreciate that you may have questions! Please feel free to our Advising Team for help.