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American Colleges: Types, Education and Rewards Essay

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Updated: Aug 27th, 2021


A college is an institution, essentially an educational campus, where a student can continue his or her education beyond high school. Education attained from college helps men and women enjoy better-off, exuberant, and more meaningful lives. It is college where students start learning higher subjects for their professional careers like engineers, lawyers, or doctors. Other subjects that are covered under Arts & Humanities are: Literature, Language, Creative Writing, Philosophy, Religion, History, Tourism, International relations, and Political science etc. College education helps prepare individuals to contribute to community affairs with matured outlook and greater understanding.

Main body

One of the oldest educational institutions for higher learning in the United States was Harvard University, which was established mainly to prepare citizens, the cream of nation, for the ministry and high-ranking posts in the cabinet and government. But today such an institution or school of learning is called a Seminary or Theological school. These special institutions and schools, later broadened their syllabi to include courses of study relating Liberal Arts, and then these were called Colleges of Liberal Arts. The pioneer universities of the US then started dividing their courses into different fields of learning. The departments, which taught each branch came to be called Colleges. Hence, the word College in the United States especially came to have two meanings and forms as:

  • A part of a university that teaches a special branch of knowledge, or
  • A separate, independent institution that specializes in a single branch of knowledge.

The names of colleges often determine the type of learning they impart. For instance, Agricultural Colleges, Dental Colleges or Teachers Colleges. Normally all universities have various kinds of colleges ranging from law, medicine, theology, dentistry, arts and fine arts. The Community colleges are the Junior colleges that mainly offer two-year programs intended for a person’s semiprofessional career. Successfully completing a junior college program, students are transferred to a “senior” college for advance study.

Nearly all high school students, at some stage in their study-life, are posed with two questions, which are:

  1. Should I join college? and
  2. Which college should I select that can best serve my purposes?

First of all students should take into consideration their own abilities, aptitudes and aims. They should then be able to decide whether they will receive the required standard of learning they aspire to get in the college that will help them in their future career. For instance, many students may feel that special vocational training, instead of a typical college education, will be better for the careers they want to pursue. Therefore final decision about choosing a college should be made only after a serious thought about ones aptitudes and aims in life. Those students who get admission in college without pre-thinking and without being much inclined may find it difficult to be successful students.

Another important factor to consider before choosing a college is that a student should see that it nearly fits his or her needs and finances. Therefore before deciding upon a college or school they can gather many of the facts by simply talking to friends and the members of teaching staff. They can also obtain information on the school or college by writing to them.

The costs incurred on studies can vary from college to college. The catalogues of nearly all colleges list the average living costs for one year of school. This includes the tuition and all other fees. The average cost of tuition, fees, room, and board at public universities in the United States as back as 2000’s, was approximately $10,600 for all students. The average cost for residents was less than this amount, except for the non-residents, which was a little higher. In view of high college expense many aid programs were introduced by both the government as well as by philanthropists in the private sector to help poor students continue their higher studies at college and universities.

Therefore students belonging to poor families may receive all or part of their college expenses through various aid programs. The various aid programs include scholarships and fellowships; state, federal, and private loan programs. These programs may also include benefits for veterans and orphans. There are so many of like programs that nearly every college has an independent financial aid office to serve such students. A deserving student needing financial assistance, therefore, should consult this office at the college he or she is selects. Generally, there are sufficient financial aid programs, which make it possible for any deserving student to attend some college school or university in spite of the financial problems. (Jordan, I. King. n.p.)

College Entrance Test

The objective of a ‘college entrance test’ is to determine if a person meets the admission requirements of a college or university. Every college students has to take entrance examinations test for his or her admission to either junior or senior college. These tests inquire to measure students’ capabilities in areas like language (reading & writing), mathematics and science. For considering an applicant for admission most colleges pay close attention to entrance test scores. Many colleges in the United States require applicants to take entrance test that is developed by the College Board standing originally for the American College Testing program. SAT’s are the College Board sponsored tests, which originally stood for Scholastic Aptitude Tests, while ACT’s include a test called the ACT Assessment. (Parker, Laurence. n.p.)

Another test called ‘SAT Reasoning Test’ consists of three sections:

  1. Math
  2. Critical reading, and
  3. Writing.

[Note: Students can make preparation for the ‘SAT Reasoning Test’ by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test]

All colleges without the exception, in the United States, require foreign applicants to take the TOEFL, which is a test of English as a Foreign Language, and very aptly measures a student’s ability to write, speak and understand the English language.

Students who apply for a graduate degree in business usually have take an additional examinations i.e. Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), so also the medical students who have to take a test called Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or for the Law students to take School Admission Test (LSAT). (Parker, Laurence. n.p.)

Degree College & Graduation Exercises

A college degree is awarded to a student who successfully completes the required course of study at the college. The college administration presents the degree to a successful candidate in the form of a “Diploma”, a document that certifies the award. There are four other basic kinds of degrees. They are:

  • Associate’s Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Master’s Degree and
  • Doctor’s Degree

There is also another degree called ‘Honorary Degree’ which is awarded to a person for his or her outstanding contribution in the field.


A college or university usually awards a diploma or certificate (officially sealed document) in recognition of student’s achievement in a particular course of study. The awarding of the corticated confirms that the student has completed a prescribed course. Colleges present diplomas to students at special ceremonies, called “Graduation Exercises.” (Sloan, Douglas. n.p.)

Works Cited

Jordan, I. King. , 2007. Web.

Parker, Laurence., 2007. Web.

Sloan, Douglas. , 2007. Web.

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