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Private or Public College: How to Make the Right Choice For You

Choosing the next institution to continue your educational journey is exciting! But, for some students, it can also be quite daunting– after all, it’s an important decision. To help in your search, we’ve demystified one of the most crucial steps in this process: whether to attend a public or private college. If you’re currently trying to determine whether public or private college is right for you, we’ve got just the article to help you out.

In our opinion, there are four key elements to consider in your decision: learning environment, tuition, career connections, and program offerings. Let’s dissect each of these differences between private and public colleges.

  1. Learning Environment
  2. Tuition
  3. Career Connections
  4. Program Offerings


Learning Environment

Public colleges are typically much larger than their private counterparts in terms of class size. The ratio of teachers to students is fairly large, so you probably won’t get much one-on-one interaction with your professors. It’s not uncommon for classes at public institutions to have hundreds of students.

Private colleges pride themselves on their small class sizes, which provides students with direct access to professors. If it is important to you to build a connection with your teachers and fellow classmates, a private college is most conducive to this.



Public colleges receive government financial aid in order to subsidize the cost of tuition for students. As a result, you will generally pay less in tuition at a public university.

Private colleges often aren’t privy to the large government donations that public institutions benefit from, and as a result, source much of their funding from tuition. You will typically pay more tuition at a private college as compared to a public college. However, private colleges are known for their extensive scholarship programs and financial aid packages, so there are exceptions to this rule.


Career Connections

Public schools generally do not offer work & study programs and expect you to network with industry professionals on your own. They may host the occasional seminar or networking event, but it’s up to you to make the most of these opportunities.

A huge benefit to private college education is that many connect students with part-time work in a job relevant to what they’re studying. With deep ties to the local community, you can usually find work-study programs at private institutions so you can earn cash as you learn!


Program Offerings

Public colleges usually have extensive program offerings with plenty of majors to choose from. If you’re undecided on your major, a public institution allows you to switch degrees easily from year-to-year without having to switch schools.

On the contrary, private institutions tend to specialize in a select few programs. If you’re confident in what you want to study, a specialized private school program may be the best option for you.


At Tamwood, a private college in Canada, we offer the amenities of a public school while maintaining the benefits of private school. We pride ourselves on our tight student to teacher ratios, as we know this ensures that every student gets the one-on-one support they need to succeed. However, our world isn’t small, with 2000 (yes, two thousand) program options for our students. Did we mention that we offer competitive tuition rates? Of course, we also encourage students to take part in one of our eight Work Study programs where they can gain relevant skills and earn money while studying. The industry connections our students build are invaluable.


To learn more about Tamwood’s Pathway and Work & Study Programs, we invite you to contact us today!