Academic Essay Writing: “Public Universities vs. Private Universities” – Sample Essay

Posted on April 5, 2020

Essay Sample

The moment comes, when you need to enter a university and get a higher education. Hundreds of students-to-be face a real academic dilemma: which university to choose, a state or private university?
Since there’s no single, all-purpose answer to this question, the best option is to examine the advantages of both. The following detailed analysis is based on the highlighted terms. These principles can help to clarify any questions a student may have about making a choice between public and state universities.

The question of payment is a top priority. When choosing a public university, one can save a fortune in tuition and fees. A year’s tuition at a private university can be up to ten times higher than the cost of attending a state university. So, if you live on a low-budget, you won’t likely be able to afford the cost of attending a private university. However, if you are a high-achiever, there are numerous scholarships and financial packages that can be of assistance.

Admission to a state university tends to be much easier. State universities are generally much bigger than private universities and can therefore accept more applicants. Being a citizen of a particular state will help you make the list of admitted students. At the same time, larger state universities mean later class sizes. It is especially true for the courses of the entry level, where classes may take place in a room with nearly two hundred undergrads.

Unlike state universities, private universities are usually fairly small; that is why they only take on a limited number of new admissions each year. This fact explains why private universities often seem so restrictive and why competition to enter private universities is so high.

The level of academic teaching is sufficient enough at both types of educational establishments. Public universities offer the same variety of staff and the level of expertise is almost the same as at private universities. Still there’s some contrast between the two academic approaches. The low number of students at private universities increases the possibility for tutorials and consultations. These types of academic activities usually take place within small groups, and stimulate dialogue between professors and the students. Undoubtedly, this can be regarded as a valid benefit of private universities because this way of academic interaction and communication serves to develop analytic and critical thinking, which are of great importance for any individual’s future career (Drum, 2012).

Also, it must be admitted that private universities are considered to be more prestigious than state universities, so they are more likely to stimulate one’s future success (Nairaland Forum, 2015). As a rule, public institutions take lower position in the academic ranking. What is more, these universities and colleges typically provide less selective admission standards. At the same time, private colleges and universities may publish more influential scientific works and recruit more qualified personnel. However, the quality of knowledge received at a private college or university isn’t necessarily the finest one in contrast to education that one pursues at a public institution. Still, grads of top trusted colleges and universities with prestigious reputation are usually more attractive to the employers. It is important to stress that some public institutions have as prestigious status as their private alternatives.

When it comes to accreditation, academic institutions can be accredited regionally, nationally, or not accredited at all. Top educational standards are usually associated with regional accreditation – the so-called accreditation’s gold standard. It is important to keep in mind that almost every public university is accredited regionally, while a lot of private schools have national accreditation. Some private universities, like the ones that are religion-based, may give preference to accreditation of national level instead of regional accreditation. When it comes to the for-private institutions that have no accreditation, they turn out to be scandalous, and potential students should better keep away from those.

Apart from studies, each university pays attention to creating a student community by means of extracurricular activities. The number of extracurricular activities at private universities can be slightly higher compared to state universities, but the difference is too slight to be cited as a significant disadvantage for public universities (Drum, 2012). College students that have athletics as an integral part of their lives may choose to enter a public university. The point here is that most of the athletic teams of Division I come from public colleges.

Taking into consideration the fact that public institutions accept so many applicants, they usually provide a wider assortment of degree offerings. In other words, public universities enable one to find just about any academic degree or program. At the same time, private schools have fewer undergrads and thus, they offer fewer choices. Nonetheless, a lot of private universities provide a chance to customize the chosen programs by collaborating with academic advisers.

Religious affiliation is another important factor, when it comes to public versus private colleges competition. Public universities and colleges are irreligious, by law. In other words, these institutions are secular and have no connection to the religious matters. Private universities aren’t bound by the state-and-church separation principle, which means they may be affiliated religiously. If you give your preference to the non-secular private academic institutions, you’re not going to observe the college religion to get accepted. At the same time, secular undergrads may find more enjoyable to attend private or public school that is not affiliated religiously.

To add more, public institutions usually offer better facilities provided by governments. This includes extensive libraries and innovative research opportunities. In case you’re interested in conducting academic research, it is recommended to choose public schools where all these stunning options are accessible. On the other hand, private universities may provide you with a unique opportunity to join a teamwork project led by a professor in your field.

A true benefit of state universities is that you can select the one you need according to the country region or a city you desire. It is easier to deal with the question of geographical location, when you give your preference to the public colleges and universities.

It’s hard to give one exact answer to the question: “Which is better: Public or Private universities?” The academic goals and financial demands of each are different, and each type of university has strong points and weak points. By choosing a public university, you choose a safe and proven way receive a college higher education at a relatively low price. By selecting a private university, you are sure to get into a privileged circle of students, thus investing into a successful start of your future career. Just be ready to pay for it if you’re lucky enough to be admitted.
One certain thing is that the decision to continue studies and get a well-rounded education is always the right one. Luckily, the number of universities is sufficient enough to fulfill demand, so you’re sure to find a university to suit your needs.

As you’re completely aware now, there is a rage of different peculiarities that make private and public universities different. The key trick here is to choose the factors that are of significant importance, and act accordingly.

Essay analysis: “Public Universities vs. Private Universities”

The analysis of the essay content

The cost aspect. In this essay sample about public vs. private universities, the author explores the critical factors that students should consider when making the decision between attending a public university or a private university. The essay begins with a discussion of the cost aspect. It emphasizes that public universities are more affordable due to their lower tuition fees compared to private universities. The author highlights that high-achieving students may have access to scholarships and financial aid at private institutions, potentially offsetting the higher costs.

Admission process. The second section of the sample addresses the admission process. The public university is a more accessible place to a broader range of students. This is due to their larger size. While private universities are more selective with limited admissions. This difference between public and private institutions leads to smaller class sizes at private universities. It potentially facilitates more personalized attention and academic interactions. The writer skilfully addresses the difference between application process in private and public institutions here.

Academic excellence. The essay proceeds to discuss the level of academic teaching. It indicates that both types of universities offer a similar level of expertise. These can be some of the main similarities between public and private universities. However, private universities are famous for their smaller student population. This enables more tutorials and consultations that promote critical thinking and analytical skills. The writer clearly mentions the perceived prestige of private universities, suggesting that employers may value graduates from such institutions more highly. The author masterfully describes the academic teaching levels in both types of institutions. 

Education quality. The writer also touches upon accreditation. The essay points out that regional is the gold standard, and public universities are generally accredited regionally. Private universities may hold national accreditation, with some religious-based institutions preferring this type. The author cautions against unaccredited for-profit institutions. These points are also crucial in the analysis of public and private universities.

Having fun around the campus. The essay continues to explore extracurricular activities, with a slight advantage for private universities in terms of their offerings. However, the writer emphasized that public universities with Division I athletic teams are more suitable for students interested in athletics. Additionally, the essay points that public universities provide a wider assortment of degree offerings, while private universities may offer more personalized program options. This idea allows to look through the main differences between these types of educational institutions.

Diversity issues. Religious affiliation becomes a distinguishing factor between public and private universities, as the author writes. This is because public institutions are secular by law, while private universities may have religious affiliations. Geographical location is also considered an advantage of public universities. This is because students can select a university based on the desired region or city.

Conclusion. The essay concludes by acknowledging that there is no definitive answer to the public vs. private university debate, as the choice depends on individual academic goals and financial considerations. Public universities are a safe and affordable option, while private universities offer potential prestige and career benefits. The author discusses in detail the benefits of public universities. In the end, the essay encourages students to prioritize the factors that matter most to them when making their decision.

Jacob Lee Top-10 Writer at

I sometimes like to write two outlines if the paper is large or requires a lot of research. The first outline is for keeping an eye on the content of the essay. I briefly describe how my ideas develop through the paper and where I need some linking words. The second outline is for checking my citations, references, and arguments. That helps to pay attention to the concise logic and argumentation of the paper.

You can craft a similar logical and analytical essay. Here is how:

  • State the topic and purpose. Start by clearly stating the topic and purpose of your essay in the introduction. Present a concise overview of the key differences between public and private universities and briefly outline the main points you will be discussing.
  • Develop a strong essay structure. In the body paragraphs, follow the structure of the sample essay by addressing each similarity and difference between private and public universities in detail. Begin with a strong topic sentence that introduces the main point of the paragraph, such as cost, academic teaching, or extracurricular activities. Support your arguments with relevant evidence, statistics, or examples to make your analysis more persuasive and credible.
  • Include transitions to improve the essay’s coherence. Remember to include transitional phrases to maintain a smooth flow between paragraphs and to link the various factors together. For instance, you can use phrases like “In addition,” “Furthermore,” or “Moreover” to connect ideas and create a cohesive essay.
  • Use examples. When discussing academic teaching, consider the impact of class sizes and faculty-student interactions on the learning experience. Use specific examples or personal anecdotes to illustrate how public and private higher education factors can shape a student’s knowledge.
  • Include citations and sources. Also, to enhance the quality of your essay, ensure that you use proper citations and references to support your arguments. Academic integrity is crucial, and citing credible sources adds credibility to your essay.
  • To address the issue of prestige, cite reputable sources or studies that compare the reputation of public and private universities. Showcase your analytical skills by evaluating the potential advantages and disadvantages of attending a prestigious university.
  • Develop a good conclusion. In the conclusion, summarize the main points discussed in the essay about choosing private or public university, and restate the importance of considering individual academic goals, financial needs, and personal preferences when choosing between public and private universities. Emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all answer and that students should weigh the pros and cons carefully to make an informed decision.
  • Focus on clarity, coherence, and conciseness. Avoid jargon and overly complex language, and strive to communicate your ideas in a clear and straightforward manner. Remember to proofread your work to catch any grammar or spelling errors and to ensure that your essay polish your essay professionally.

By following this sample essay’s structure and incorporating these tips, you can craft a well-organized and thoughtful essay on the topic of public universities vs. private universities. Your thorough analysis and evidence-based arguments will impress your readers and showcase your ability to tackle complex academic subjects effectively. Best of luck in writing your essay, and may your words inspire and inform your audience!

Pro tip

Clarity, coherence, and conciseness are three whales that hold the academic writing. To ensure that you meet the criteria of each of these “Cs”, write down all requirements before writing an essay. That will keep your mind focused on the excellence and the essay structure rather than daydreaming or letting your thoughts randomly navigate you.

Prompts and Topics for an Essay on “Public Universities Vs. Private Universities”

Here’re some ideas for you what to write in your essay about private and public universities:

Comparing tuition and financial aid. Investigate the difference between public and private university tuition fees and analyze the various financial aid options available to students in both sectors.

Academic approaches in public and private universities. Explore the differences in academic approaches between public and private universities. Focusing on class sizes, faculty-student interactions, and their impact on student learning outcomes.

Prestige and career outcomes. Discuss the perception of prestige associated with private universities and its implications on graduates’ career prospects. Analyze whether the prestige of an institution significantly affects employability.

Accreditation and quality of education. Evaluate the significance of regional and national accreditation in public and private universities. And examine how accreditation influences the quality of education provided by these institutions.

Extracurricular activities and campus life. Compare the range and significance of extracurricular activities offered by public and private universities and their impact on students’ overall college experience.

Program diversity and personalization. Analyze the extent of program diversity in public and private universitie. Discuss how private institutions offer personalized academic paths compared to public universities. This allows to choose public or private university in the conclusion.

Religious affiliation and campus culture. Investigate the role of religious affiliation in private universities and its impact on campus culture, student life, and academic freedom.

Geographical location and university choice. Discuss the importance of geographical location in university selection and how it influences students’ decisions between public and private universities.

Facilities and research opportunities. Compare the facilities and research opportunities provided by public and private universities. Highlight the strengths of each sector in fostering academic excellence.

Accessibility and inclusivity. Examine the role of public universities in providing higher education access to a broader demographic of student. Discuss the inclusivity measures adopted by public and private institutions.

Public-private partnerships in higher education. Investigate collaborative efforts between public and private universities in research, infrastructure development, and academic programs.

Social and economic impact. Analyze the societal and economic impact of public and private universities in terms of graduates’ contributions, research outputs, and engagement with local communities.

The role of government funding. Evaluate the role of government funding in supporting public universities. Observe its implications on accessibility, affordability, and quality of education.

Future trends in higher education. Speculate on the future of public and private universities. Consider factors like technological advancements, student preferences, and changing global dynamics.

Balancing cost and quality. Discuss strategies for students to make informed decisions about the balance between cost and quality when choosing between public and private universities.

International perspective. Compare the dynamics of a private university and a public one in different countries. Consider cultural, financial, and policy factors that shape their characteristics and reputation.

Addressing misconceptions. Challenge common misconceptions and stereotypes about public and private universities. Provide evidence-based arguments to debunk myths.

Student testimonials. Interview students who have attended both private and public university. Gather their experiences and insights to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each option.

The role of endowments. Investigate how endowments and philanthropy impact the financial stability and resources available to private universities. Observe how this may influence their offerings and facilities.

Hybrid models and evolving Ttends. Explore emerging hybrid models of higher education that blur the lines between public vs private universities. Discuss the implications of such trends for students and academia.

If you need more information about the private and public universities, here are three extra articles for you:

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