Accessibility links

Breaking News

EDUCATION REPORT - October 3, 2002: Foreign Student Series #3 >College or University? - 2002-10-02

This is the VOA Special English EDUCATION REPORT.

This week, we continue our reports about how people from around the world can attend a college or university in the United States. We tell the difference between a college and a university in the United States. A copy of this report can be found on the Special English web page at w-w-w dot voa special english dot c-o-m.

People attend a college or university to continue their education after high school. This prepares them for work. It also provides them with a greater understanding of the world and its past. And, it helps them value the arts and sciences.

Students usually attend a college for four years to complete a program of study. Those who are successful receive a bachelor’s degree. Colleges generally do not offer additional study programs or support research projects. Universities often are much larger than colleges. Universities carry out research. They also offer several programs in many areas of study. Universities offer bachelor’s degrees after four years of study. They also offer graduate degrees that require additional years of study.

Modern universities developed from those of Europe’s Middle Ages. They took their name from the Latin word “universitas.” It meant a group of people organized for one purpose.

The first European colleges were groups of students who came together because of the same interests. In England, colleges were formed to provide students with living places. Usually each group was studying the same thing, so the word “college” came to mean one area of study.

Today, most American colleges offer an area of study called liberal arts. The liberal arts are subjects first developed and taught in ancient Greece. They trained a person’s mind. They were considered different from subjects that were useful in life.

The word “college” also means a part of a university that teaches one area of study. That is because the first American universities divided their studies into many areas and called each one a college. For example, the University of Texas at Austin has fourteen different colleges. It also has the most students of any single university in the country. This year, more than fifty-two-thousand men and women are studying there.

This VOA Special English EDUCATION REPORT was written by Nancy Steinbach.