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America is a nation that is built upon knowledge. This knowledge that drives the American nation is acquired fromboth public and private universities. Public and private universities differ from each other in respects such amount of tuition one pays, and difficulties encountered in admission to the university (Burrows & Philip, 1993).
Cost of Tuition
Firstly, the most visible difference between public and private universities in America is the cost of tuition. Tuition is much higher in the private universities than in public universities. When comparatively examined, private universities’ tuition is close to ten times more than the tuition in public universities. The tuition difference is brought about because of the different means of funding for these universities. Public universities get government subsidies from the state in which they are located. This means that the tuition of students is partly paid for by the state. On the other hand, funding for private universities is from the students, and alumni (Burrows & Philip, 1993).
Secondly, much higher grades are needed to get admission to a private university. This is unlike public universities where only an average grade is required for entry. The reason for the grade differences is that private universities are more prestigious, and they want to attract the best students. Universities like MIT, Harvard and John Hopkins University have remarkably high entry grades. This is because they are private universities. It is important to note that the curriculum is not different whether one is in a public or a private university. In fact, most public universities have a much more difficulty curriculum than private universities (Gladwell, 2005).
Thirdly, even with the best grades it is extremely difficult to get admitted into a private university. This is because the admission process is intensely competitive. This is unlike a public university which does not present so many troubles in admission. The reason why it is difficult to get admission into a private university is because the universities admit remarkably few students every year. Harvard University, one of the country’s most prestigious private universities only admits a handful of the number of students who apply. The university admits only 1650 students from the thousands who apply each year. The reason why it is difficult to get admission into these private universities is because they are so prestigious, and every American wants to get his or her education from these private universities (Gladwell, 2005).
Size of Classes
Fourthly, private universities, like private schools offer much smaller classes. This is in contrast to public universities, which have large classes. These smaller classes bring the student closer to the educational atmosphere. The small classes also enable students to cultivate closer relationships with their instructors, and professors. This is because, in these private universities, there are special programs to enhance dialogue and communication between the students, and professors. It is even common to find students in private universities dining with their professors. These personalized interactions are not possible in public universities (Stone, 2007).
In conclusion, it is useful to understand that the content of learning in both private and public universities is almost the same. Although private universities are more prestigious than public universities, they are not automatically superior to public universities. Even if the grades of most students qualify them to universities like Stanford and MIT, most students opt for the public universities. This is because some public universities are more prestigious than private universities. A good example is the University of Washington. It is a public university, and the best medical school in the world. Students should consider the programs that suit their taste and go for them from any university (Stone, 2007).
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