College Admissions

Although most educational institutions in the U.S. are non-profit, some are for-profit. Colleges and universities in the U.S. vary in terms of goals: some may emphasize a vocational, business, engineering, or technical curriculum while others may emphasize a liberal arts curriculum. Many combine some or all of the above.

Two-year colleges offer the Associates degree (A.A.) and four-year colleges offer Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Sciences (B.S.) degrees. These are primarily undergraduate institutions, although some might have limited programs at the graduate level. Universities service both undergraduate and graduate student bodies. Graduate programs grant a variety of Master's degrees including M.B.A.s or M.F.A.s. The highest academic degree is the Ph.D. Medical schools award either the M.D. or D.O. while law schools award the J.D.

Liberal arts colleges are four-year institutions that traditionally emphasize interactive instruction (although research is still a component of these institutions). They are known for being residential and for having smaller enrollments, class sizes, and student-teacher ratios than universities. These colleges also encourage a high level of teacher-student interaction at the center of which are classes taught by full-time faculty rather than graduate student TA's (who teach the classes at Research I and other universities). The colleges are either coeducational, women's colleges, or men's colleges. Some are historically black colleges, or secular, while others are involved in religious education. Many are private. Some are public liberal arts colleges. In addition, colleges such as Hampshire College, Beloit College, Bard College at Simon's Rock, Pitzer College, Sarah Lawrence College, Bennington College, Marlboro College, New College of Florida, and Reed College offer experimental curricula.

Public and private universities are research-oriented institutions which service both an undergraduate and graduate student body. These institutions usually have a large student body. Introductory seminars can have a class size in the hundreds[citation needed], but lab groups are generally smaller and more intimate. The more popular sports schools are typically larger universities, though not exclusively.