General Writing and Grammar Help/university,...

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Question
Hi

What is the difference between "university" and "college" in English?

Thank you

Answer
None, really.  

In the U.K. and Canada, I believe the school is always called =university=, and the expression of attending one is =go to university=.

In the U.S., =go to college= can be taken as a collective action of going for further schooling but without specifying what type of school or where.

~~

Some schools are called =college= within their name:  Hanover College, College of William and Mary.

Some school are called =university=, likewise:  Harvard University.  Universities allied with state governments are usually titled "in reverse" (=university of=):  University of Florida.

~~

And sometimes =college= denotes a school that is not "top tier."  In California, for example, there are the very rigorous and difficult-to-be-admitted schools:  University of California at Berkeley ("Cal") and University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).  These schools are also more expensive that other state-sponsored schools.  They also boast Nobel laureates in abundance.

The second tier school are =California State University at ____=, such as California State University at San Diego.  These schools used to be called =college=, rather than =university=.  (now they've been "upgraded").  These schools were not as selective as the =University of California at ___" schools, cost less, and drew from local populations.  They were put in place so that students all over California could have an affordable college education.  Also, there was the idea that these colleges "produced teachers."

~~

Allow me to stand up on my soapbox:

I dislike intensely the expression "If you can't [do it], teach [it]."  Teaching is not the refuge of the inadequate!  Teaching is what the "adequate" do!

Rather, the expression should be:  "If you can't teach, you must find another career."

I shall now get down from my soapbox!

~~

To answer your question, in the U.S., there is very little difference except sometimes to denote prestige.
mb

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