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Difference between Australian Universities and Colleges

January 2, 2020

If you are looking for higher studies, you often come through these terms: colleges and universities. You might think that they are the same and just different words are being used to describe similar institutions. And, you might not really know the difference between Australian universities and colleges.

There is also a popular misconception that college refers to a private institution and a university refers to a state-funded school. Other people may think that a university provides a better education than a college.

In reality, the difference in college and university is nothing like that and is quite difficult to understand. Seems like you are interested in continuing your education in one of these. It is better you clear things out before you start your application.

Also Read: A Guide to IELTS Preparation

What is a University?

A university is a Higher Education Provider and has to meet strict requirements to become a self-accrediting authority through the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) in Australia. There are currently 43 universities in Australia that provide three main types of higher education leading to Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral DegreesThese accredited organizations are considered more prestigious than colleges, due to accreditation, the quality of research produced by its professors and alumni. These institutions also may have a medical or law school for students wishing to pursue professional degrees. Generally, universities have a more diverse offering of classes and programs than a college because of the larger number of enrolled students.

What is a College?

In Australia, college is a smaller institution than a university focusing on technical and further education institutions (TAFE), which offers certificate and diploma vocational courses under the Australian Qualifications Framework. A college may be an independent institution or form part of a university. While university courses tend to have an academic focus, TAFE courses are typically more hands-on and are focused on providing students with the workplace skills and training needed by employers.

Which one is fit for you?

Now you may have a question in your mind: which one is better—a university or college? Well, it is better to focus on the question: which one is fit for you? Some of you might do well if you study in a college and later join the university while some others might do well if they directly go to university.

College and university generally are academic equals. What you should have been clear by now is that a college prepares you for a certain career in a short time, but universities are more broad and theoretical which can prepare you for a number of careers. Depending on the student’s needs, one type of institution may be a better choice. For example, if you want to attend a school with a variety of programs and classes, then a university may be a better choice.

Also Read: Studying Higher Education in Australia

If you feel comfortable in small class sizes and want to start a career early, then a college might be the best option. Some of you may even join the college if you think you are not yet ready to study at a university. If you are a student considering your life and career, your institution’s name is less important than whether or not the institution is a good fit. Think about what you want your educational experience to be like, and choose the college or university that meets your expectations.


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