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F.A.Q.

 1) What are small, medium and large institutions?

Small means an enrollment of 5,000 or less; medium is an enrollment of between 5,000 and 25,000; large institutions exceed 25,000.  Some very large universities have over 50,000 students!  The largest, according to the U.S. News & World Report was University of Central Florida.

 2) What is the difference between residential and day/commuter programs?

Residential means program participants live on campus, usually in dorms.  Meals are typically provided.  Programs will generally include evening and or weekend activities as part of the residential fee.  The level of supervision will depend on the age of student and type of program.  This will be described on the program.  Programs designed for middle and high school generally provide constant supervision.  There are many institutions that allow older high school students to take regular undergraduate classes and live in the dorms.  These do not offer supervision, but will have a resident advisor and building security.  Day students attend the day portion of the program and go home in the evening.  Some programs include lunch and/or snacks in the fee.  Day students may be able to participate in some evening activities.

 3) What is the difference between a college and a university?

A college offers a post-high school education, generally in the liberal arts.  Colleges often pride themselves on an emphasis on their undergraduates, offering smaller classes, taught directly by faculty.  A university provides undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, such as master’s or doctorates and professional schools such as law or medicine.  Many universities are divided into colleges for administrative purposes.  For example, the University of California, San Diego undergraduate division is organized into Revelle College, John Muir College, Thurgood Marshall College, Earl Warren College, Eleanor Roosevelt College and Sixth College.  Each has different graduation requirements, provost and education philosophy.

 4) What is an accredited institution?

An accredited institution is one that has had its programs evaluated by an external agency.  In the U.S., this is done by private non-profit groups in a peer review system.  Academic credits earned at an accredited institution will be considered as acceptable at other institutions.  However, a particular college or university may limit the number or credits that can be transferred.  There are additional groups that accredit particular programs. 

 5) What is a liberal arts institution?

A liberal arts school is focused on developing the student through education in science, social science, humanities and the arts.  Students are expected to learn in a wide range of disciplines.  A professional, vocational or technical school, by contrast, allows students to concentrate on a limited range of subjects.

 6) What is “STEM”?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  There are many summer programs encouraging students to consider careers in these fields.  There are summer programs many for girls only, addressing the shortage of women in these fields.  There are many free summer programs in STEM for minority students, students who would be the first in their family to attend college or students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.  

 7) What is the difference between public and private institutions?

Every state maintains its own public college and university system.  Taxpayers support these.  These institutions maintain two tuition rates – one for in-state students that is often very affordable and another rate for non-resident students, comparable to private institutions.  Private schools are independent of a state government, but many receive federal or state support through grants for research.  Most private institutions are operated as not-for-profit and many are affiliated with religious groups.  There are public colleges and universities as prestigious as private institutions.   For example, many of the schools of the University of California system are as well-regarded as the Ivy League schools.

 8) What is the Ivy League?

The Ivy League consists of eight private universities that are some of the oldest and most prestigious in the United States.  They are: Brown University (Providence, RI), Columbia University (New York City), Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH), Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Princeton University (Princeton, NJ), University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA) and Yale University (New Haven, CT).