Why do American students always say they are going to College? Don't they also go to University?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    For the simple reason that we ARE going to college. A college can be either a smaller entity within a univerity, or a institution on it's own, but either way when you're working on a BA you're affiliated with a college. Large univerities are divided into smaller colleges. For example, undergraduates at Columbia University are generally affiliated with Columbia College, but the university also has an engineering school, a medical school, and I think a few others as well. At NYU, undergraduates have a choice of several colleges, each with different requirements. And that's not unique to the US - I know Oxford is divided into several colleges, and I believe other UK universities are as well.

    And then there are schools like mine. I go to a college that's NOT a university. If I'm talking to someone in another country I'll sometimes say I'm in university to avoid confusion (somewhere, I think it's Australia, calls some portion of secondary school college), but it's not actually true. I go to a liberal arts college that doesn't have a graduate program, it's just undergrads, so it's not a university. Liberal arts colleges aren't universities, so students who go to one aren't going to say they go to university.

    BTW, contrary to one of the previous answers, liberal arts colleges are four-year schools that grant BAs, just like an undergraduate program at a large university. It has nothing to do with "knowing what you want to do," but rather with factors like class size and quality of education. I know _exactly_ what I want to do with my life, and have since about about 2nd grade.

  • 1 decade ago

    Generally in America students call University "College". Even if it is a university most still call it College. Its like how students in Canada call college "University"

  • 1 decade ago

    Most of us Americans don't bother to make the distinction between a college and a university. Post-graduate program or not its just a college to us.

  • 1 decade ago

    A college is generally a sub-division of a university. The meaning has become blurred though. They're treated as equal in casual speech.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    College refers to "higher education", while university means a specific type of higher education. So if an American is going to college, they are going to a place of higher education, but not necessarily a university.

    When we go on "vacation", we are "vacating" our workplace. It does not have to be a "holiday".

    I guess our (American) English is not metric either.

  • 1 decade ago

    Over here in the US we just generically say we are going to college regardless of it is a college or university. Generally we'll say "I'm going to college at ___________". For us, college is the next step after going to High School, so it is generically called "College".

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Why should they go to either? Spend six months training as an electrician and your starting income is "$10,000 a year MORE" than the starting income of a person with a four year Master's Degree in Business. Plus, by the time they graduate, you will have four raises under you belt, choices of jobs anywhere in the country, and when was the last time you heard of hundreds of electricians being laid off? Yes, you will have dirt under your nails, but if your boss wants to to work more than 40 hours, you get time and a half and even double time.

  • 1 decade ago

    While some of us know that the term college refers to a specific body at a university, most of us, (including me) simply use the two terms interchangeably.

  • 1 decade ago

    College and University are the same thing. We use these word interchangeably. I know for someone who is not from America, it can be very confusing. I hope this helps.

  • 1 decade ago

    College is when you dont know yet what you want to do, and take courses to get some credits, and get some kind of certificate or diploma, sometimes a Associates degree, University is when you are ready for a real career and get a BA or MA.

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