Difference between College and Collegiate

Although they sound similar, College and collegiate are two very different concepts. A college is an educational institution that provides higher learning to teach undergraduate students, while a collegiate is someone who attended and received a college education.

Difference between college and collegiate

College – An Introduction

The word college is gotten from the Latin word “Lego” which means to collect or to gather. The preposition cum, which means ‘with,’ literally means selected together; it refers to an Institute where students are taught. A college can be a degree-awarding college, i.e., at the end of the specific year of learning, the student is awarded a degree that describes in detail the courses that have been taken and the expertise of the student or a part of a federal university or a vocational institute, a training institution or a secondary school.

The programs that are offered differ depending on the type of college. The word also has slightly different meanings depending on the country where it is being used. In the United States, colleges are institutes of higher education or universities, while there are several parts of the world where college refers to high school or secondary school.

Types of colleges:

1. Public colleges – These are colleges that are established by either the local or state government and often offer cheaper tuition for students who reside in the state where the college is located. Also, public colleges are often the targets of students who come from low-income households as they are more affordable; however, this does not affect the quality of education as they are, in many instances, one of the highest-ranked institutions to attend.

2. Private Colleges- These are colleges that operate mainly on tuition, fees, and private funding sources in their day-to-day running. Although they are not as cost-effective as public colleges, they frequently provide their students with financial aid packages to offset the strain that funding their education might bring.

3. For-profit colleges- These are colleges that offer specific courses and prepare students for a particular career path. They often are more expensive than other types of colleges

4. Community colleges- They are two-year colleges where students can take courses that prepare them for a different degree, a full-time four-year college, or prepare them for their career path in the outside world. Some community colleges offer free education to their students.

5. Colleges with a particular focus-

These focus primarily on specific special courses. They can be:

A. Arts colleges- An art college is a college where the teaching of the liberal arts is the only focus. However, these colleges aim to teach and develop a general knowledge of the arts.

B. Single-sex colleges – A single-sex college is a college where individuals of single-sex are given admission to the institution. I.e., all the students are either female or male. They are often private institutions and provide a unique experience for students who cannot be gotten a co-ed college.

C. Religiously affiliated colleges- Colleges that identify or associate with a religious body, church, denomination, or faith. Thus, these institutions often combine teaching the chosen courses and their religious values and mission. They are often residential and employ a holistic method of teaching.

D. Specialized mission colleges- These colleges focus primarily on teaching certain groups of students. Hence, an excellent example of this is HBCUs which were set up primarily to ensure the education of black students in the United States.

6. Liberal arts colleges- These types of colleges focus on the liberal arts; they focus on a wide range of courses that ranges from history, mathematics, life sciences, and literature.

7. Vocational technical and career colleges- These colleges offer training in specialized courses such as firefighting, culinary arts, dental hygiene, and medical records technology.

Types of college degrees

1. Bachelor’s degree- This is a degree given at the successful completion of an undergraduate degree in a university. Thus, there are several classes for this degree:

  1. First-class
  2. Second class upper
  3. Second class lower
  4. Third class.

This degree varies depending on the course studied; students can be awarded bachelors of sciences B.Sc., Bachelors of Arts BA, Bachelor of education B.Ed., Bachelor of Agriculture B.Agric. or Bachelor of Technology B.Tech.

2. Master’s degree- This is a postgraduate degree that is undertaken after a student has received their bachelor’s degree. It takes either two to three years. The completion of this degree ascertains that the student has attained a higher mastery of a specific field of study or area of professional practice.

3. Associate degree- These degrees take about two (2) years for students to receive, and it is the degree offered by community colleges after courses have been completed.

4. Doctoral degree- It is a graduate-level degree that is awarded after several years of graduate school. A doctoral degree is often the most advanced degree that students in various fields of study can attain. Students awarded a doctorate are regarded with the highest respect and are seen as authorities in their area of specialization.

Collegiate – An Overview

The word collegiate refers to a student who has enrolled in an educational institution to improve themselves. Like the meaning of college differs, collegiate can also refer to different types of people; they are both broad terms. For example, in several parts of the world, a student enrolled in a high school can be a collegiate as they refer to high schools as colleges; however, in the United States, collegiates are students who are enrolled in a college or university. The main aim is to receive an education in a college and consequently be awarded a certificate of completion or a degree certificate.


With all the examples and explanations given thus far, it’s evident that the two concepts do not refer to the same thing. However, they are both interrelated, and the enrollment in one leads to the classification of the other.