What Are the Advantages of Attending a Private College?

Private colleges provide students with many of the same educational and recreational programs as public colleges. However, there are many advantages of attending a private college, including personal attention, more opportunities and lifelong benefits.

Private College Overview

In January 2014, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) website reported that 3.4 million students in the U.S. attended a private college. At that time, about 1,600 private, nonprofit schools were in operation in the U.S., and they accounted for about half the nonprofit universities and colleges in America. The student bodies at these schools could have fewer than 100 students or more than 30,000; however, the average student population was about 1,900.

Important Facts About Private Colleges

Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees available
Prerequisites Varies, depending upon institution; bachelor degree programs typically require a high school diploma, or equivalent and SAT/ACT score
Concentrations Art, international studies, history, sociology, theatre art, business administration, accounting, counseling, chemical engineering, computer science
Online Availability Full programs available

Personal Attention

The above student enrollments show that many private colleges are smaller institutions, which means instructors and professors can focus on each student to ensure individual success. In addition, many private colleges focus on developing the whole student, which requires faculty to mentor students personally and professionally, according to the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia. Personal attention with faculty members also enables students to personalize their education, according to the NAICU website.

Shorter Average Completion Time

On average, undergraduate students at a private college take four and a half years to graduate, while the average undergraduate student at a public college needs over six years to earn a degree. The Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities reports that students who attend private colleges enjoy other advantages, such as smaller class sizes and higher graduation rates.

More Extracurricular Opportunities

Students at private colleges enjoy a variety of chances to study abroad and opportunities to be involved in campus organizations. Students also have better chances of securing leadership positions and service opportunities due to lower enrollment numbers.

Scholarship Programs

Many students who attend private colleges have more opportunities for scholarships because of the strong relationships private institutions have with their alumni. These strong relationships usually mean alumni are more likely to donate money so the college can construct new buildings, beautify the campus and provide more scholarships.

Lifelong Advantages

In addition to the advantages students enjoy while attending a private college, graduates of private colleges enjoy many advantages that can last for the rest of their lives. According to Milligan College, graduates of private colleges have strong advantages in areas like:

  • Developing ethical standards
  • Communicating with individuals from different races
  • Building self-confidence
  • Becoming a more responsible individual
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