Find colleges and universities, such as state, community, public, and private colleges, universities, and technical schools. Colleges and universities provide information on degree programs, such as associate degrees, bachelor degrees, masters degrees, doctorate degrees, and trade certifications, college applications, financial aid, tuition, and student alumni resources.

What is a College?

A college is an institution of higher learning. Colleges are part of a broad category of educational institutions that also include trade and technical schools, and universities.

Colleges provide education programs leading to specific degrees, certificates or diplomas. Traditionally, these include associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, doctorate degrees and trade certifications. Each educational institution may offer any or all of the previously listed certifications.

Students interested in going to college must complete and file an application at his or her preferred institution. And, financial aid and tuition are generally required.

Those who graduate from a particular school may qualify for access to student alumni resources. These are services provided by a college to help alumni reach certain goals or complete specific tasks.

Colleges function to

  1. Provide education. The primary responsibility of a college is to provide access to quality education. This access includes individual classes and specialized instruction in specific topics.
  2. Further research efforts. Along with being a source of education, many large colleges and universities perform research designed to further the advancement of a particular field. Some common research areas include medicine, biology, and chemistry.
  3. Encourage professional development. Colleges help ensure that those working in specific professions have the ability to advance in their respective fields. Courses in areas like leadership are more about skill development than knowledge transfer, but they serve an important function in business as a whole.
  4. Support the community. Most colleges and universities are highly involved in community initiatives designed to provide local support. Often, bringing college students into the area is seen as a way to support the local economy.
  5. Provide employment. While a college's goals aren't specifically designed to provide employment opportunities, most institutions require a substantial amount of staff to operate properly. That means many colleges function as major employers in the cities where they are based, providing a point of stability even during uncertain economic times.

Are there different types of Colleges?

While all colleges focus on providing education, the subjects they cover and how they operate varies. Technical and trade schools focus on teaching students practical knowledge about their chosen fields and tend to have fewer general education requirements than community colleges and universities.

Additionally, the availability of degrees varies based on the level of schooling offered. Two-year colleges may offer certificate programs and associate degrees, while four-year institutions can offer bachelor's degrees. Masters and doctoral degrees, as well as additional professional certificates, are available through graduate schools.