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Any discussion of the public vs private university is irrelevant except to the student who has dedicated him or herself to receiving the full benefits of college regardless of the institution that he or she attends. The old adage rings true that you get out of university what you put in. The rest of the discussion about public vs private universities is a matter of finances and matching the tradition of an institution to the personality of the student.

The Public University

Kept functional by government resources, the public university is in most cases the less ethereal experience of the two types of educational institutions. Students will face the harsh realities of their adult lives early: Living on a budget, taking what you can from perhaps secondary resources, making do and becoming creative with sometimes less than stellar facilities, and truly living among the environment of “the people.”

The public university is often much more attached to the surrounding community than are their private counterparts. Often, people from the surrounding community will share library privileges with the students. As there is much less security on these campuses, students may even find themselves joined in class by a visitor or two. The public university student will become a person of the people, no doubt.

The one major advantage is that public universities cost much, much less than private universities, especially for in state students.

The Private University

The private university is the institution of privilege. Private universities exist only because extremely rich people want their children to have a place to go to learn how to be extremely rich people and only be around other extremely rich people’s children.

Money equals exclusivity. Money also equals more security, better resources, and more highly acclaimed teachers. It is from private universities that all of the “scientific breakthroughs” that are reported on MSN and Yahoo’s front pages come from.

A private university will give a student more time to dream; however, that student may find him or herself quite unable to cope in the real world if for any reason he or she should stray from the privileged path that the private university sets forth for its patrons. Private university students are handed internships and entry level positions with multinational corporations on a silver platter. Why pay what could be extra hundreds of thousands unless you know that this is your chosen path in life?

Again, you get from your education what you give to it. It may be a little much to ask the teens of today to know themselves before picking a public or private institution, but hey – they grow up so fast anyway.

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