Four-Year College

A four-year college or university offers a bachelor's degree. Programs that offer these degrees are called undergraduate schools.

Types of four-year colleges/universities


A public school is a college or university primarily funded by a state government. Public colleges and universities generally are larger than private schools and have larger class sizes. At a public school, you will likely have a larger selection of majors than you would at a private school, with both liberal arts classes and specialized programs.


A private school is a college or university that often operates as an educational nonprofit organization. It does not receive its primary funding from a state government. Private schools generally are smaller than public schools and have smaller class sizes than public schools. Some private schools may have religious affiliations. Private schools usually have a smaller selection of majors but may offer more specialized academic programs.

Research institution

A research university is a school that focuses on research as part of its mission. The schools can be public or private and are known for offering courses that are focused on academics and theory more than hands-on experience. Additionally, research universities may prefer their professors and students to research, write, and publish findings even at the undergraduate level.

Liberal arts

A liberal arts college is a school that focuses on undergraduate studies in the liberal arts and sciences. Liberal arts areas of study include the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. However, this does not mean that liberal arts colleges do not have science or STEM majors available. Many liberal arts colleges only offer undergraduate programs while others have graduate programs.


A conservatory is a school that focuses their studies on classical music or other arts. One of the most recognized conservatories is The Juilliard School. These schools have intensive training designed to develop performers and artists. The admissions process can also be very intensive including multiple auditions, performance videos, or portfolio submission in addition to traditional admissions requirements.

For-Profit institution

For-profit or proprietary schools are colleges/universities that are owned by private organizations and are profit-seeking. Some for-profit colleges/universities are accredited while some are not. The reputation of for-profit schools varies greatly. Those that are accredited and meet Department of Education requirements are able to process and accept financial aid. It is important to research the cost, accreditation, and reputation of the school while deciding to apply. Some benefits of for-profit schools are acceptance rates, course flexibility, length of degree completion, and lack of time consuming required prerequisite courses or electives. Some risks of for-profit schools are high costs, bad reputation, lack of accreditation or degree recognition, low graduation rates, low job placement/ employment rates, and high rates of loan default by students.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)

HBCUs are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community. HBCUs can be public or private,2-year or 4-year, offer different degrees and majors, and vary from highly selective to open admissions. HBCUs offer all students, regardless of race, an opportunity to develop their skills and talents.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs)

A Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) is as an institution of higher education that has an enrollment of undergraduate students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students.


College/University admissions

District GPA policy
Texas assured college admission

Application process