Difference between College and Collegiate | 7 Basic Facts

difference between college and collegiate

It’s not unlikely to confuse two words that emerged from the same root. The difference between College and Collegiate is not vast, yet we intend to use them interchangeably sometimes. 

College and Collegiate both words originate from the Latin word College, which means Colleague. A colleague is mostly used by students to refer to their fellow teammates or other fellow students. Therefore, it can be defined as people who perform the same task and activities and spend the most time together. 

College and Collegiate might have originated from one source, but they differ in meaning. According to the dictionary, a college is an education or literacy institution compared to school, while Collegiate is a related term of College, a member of a college or a corporate group; also referred to as a group of colleagues.

Despite the two clear definitions, the two words are mixed up once or twice when used to refer to the other in conversation. Let’s dive deeper to look into those specific areas where these two terms differ clearly. 

Comparison chart 

DefinitionA college is an institution of higher learning, either in the sense of a building or a campus of buildings and other facilities or in the sense of its studentsA Collegiate is a member of a college someone who has received a college education.
Goal and ObjectiveA college is a giver. Its primary goal is to ensure they provide quality education to students, by having the right professional team, having enough capacity to accommodate students, and enough capital to sustain the institute.Collegiate is the receiver. The collegiate goal is to attain an education and get awarded with a completion certificate. For this to be successful they fully depend upon the college to support their learning. The skills acquired will help them improve and perform activities.
IdentityA college is an institution that supports higher education learning.A collegiate refers to a party of individuals.
Service ExpectationA college has Stakeholders supporting it. Therefore there is a high expectation of the college to perform and provide an excellent education. Failure to perform may lead to withdrawal of support from some of the stakeholders,Not so much is expected of a collegiate. As it’s an independent party affecting one individual
Duration and Sustainability of ServiceCollege existence can exist for a very long time as it continues to offer education to students all over the worldA collegiate, however, has an expiry date. He may succumb to an incident that may eliminate using the knowledge that was acquired. 

What is College?

A college has typically been referred to as a University that is subject to discussion based on where one comes from. We qualify something as college if these following features are found in an establishment. 

An institution – This refers to the building and utilities in a college that allows education to be offered. A good example is a class or a lecture hall.

Students – Students are what make a college. Moreover, without students, there will be no education or coursework to offer. 

Education – The goal and objective of the college are to pass on education effectively to students. Therefore with no learning taking place, expect no students as well as an institution.

Professionals – These are academia’s, scholars, or lecturers as commonly referred to. They are individuals who have attained the required level of education and expertise and have elected to pass on the knowledge and skills to students.Based on these four categories, a college can merely be referred to, A chartered Institution that aims at offering higher learning education to students and awarding them with professional degrees.

What is a Collegiate?

Collegiates are students/stakeholders in a college institution. The collegiate aims to attain and improve their education level. Henceforth a collegiate needs to enroll in an educational institute to follow the process.

Collegiate institutions typically provide secondary or post-secondary education. Like in Canada (and several other countries around the world), a high school is referred to as a collegiate. So, when we refer to someone as a collegiate, either that person can be a student of the high school and someone who is an undergraduate or diploma student. For example, in the US, a collegiate is typically a post-secondary student. 

 College vs collegiate: roles and responsibilities

After the two elaborate definitions, it would be irrational to say that College and Collegiate both mean the same. However, the two interrelated entities cannot work independently without the other.

Colleges have progressively grown and opened more departments that offer different courses. Reducing literacy has and always will be the goal of colleges, and that’s why they have a skilled research and Development department that seeks research on course content to ensure that the collegiate enrolling for courses acquire the best education. 

While flipping the pages of the courses, it is important to note that education is the Mother of definitions of the two. There was a need to differentiate the two and clearly define them.

Colleges and universities are expected to train hundreds of thousands of skilled graduates for roles in the community, social development, and new formal research. This addresses the growing skills mismatch between education providers and students, employers, and recent graduates. It is relevant to guide the discussions of policymakers and senior leaders on issues about student success and career readiness. The ultimate goal is to challenge colleges and college stakeholders to think more boldly about policy design.

Research has proven that college and collegiate can be used hand in hand but to represent different meanings. With many colleges opening up to offer education, the value of education has lost its meaning while the Certificates have increasingly been awarded to collegiate. 

Collegiates were meant to be differentiated from the rest of the society and be dependent upon important decision-making advice. During the early days, education was valued, the literate were dependent upon transforming the mindset of individuals. Colleges should seek to offer quality education to everyone.

In addition, there is a need to develop a renovation/repurposing strategy across the education offered by colleges to; create jobs, develop skills, cultivate citizens, and disseminate knowledge. 

The key differences college and collegiate

  1. A college is an establishment for higher education or specialized studies or vocational studies. On the other hand, a member of a college is generally referred to as a collegiate who is receiving or received a college education.   
  2. The goal of college is to provide education to the collegiate. So basically a college is a giver institution while a collegiate is a member who receives. 
  3. A college is an institution while a collegiate is a member or a party of individuals. 
  4. The college provides education for a long time and doesn’t have any specific duration of expiry. Contrarily, a collegiate is enrolled in programs that have expiries. 
  5.  A college has several stakeholders supporting it, while a collegiate itself is a stakeholder who supports the college.

Meaning of Collegiate University  

Well, obviously, you have heard of Oxford and Cambridge, and they are the most renowned collegiate universities in the world. So, what is a collegiate University? Collegiate Universities are institutions under which a series of colleges are regulated to provide higher education. The functions of collegiate universities are divided between two administration levels: the central administration (the administrations of the main University, which is the highest authority) and the college administration, which is the authority of the constituent colleges. Although the colleges are financially and ethically independent from the central University most of the time

Frequently asked questions

What does collegiately mean?

According to definition, collegiately is an adverb that means in the manner of a group of colleagues or community, or in a collegiate way.

What does a Collegiate institution mean?

A collegiate institution is an institution that provides either high school or post-school education. In Canada, collegiate institutions are called high schools, but in the US, collegiate institutions are meant to run post-school programs.

What is the difference between collegiate and non-Collegiate?

A collegiate is any stakeholder (especially students) of a college. When a non-collegiate generally means that anyone who is not related to college. However, the Non-collegiate term is used to indicate anyone who is a student of schools, high schools, or other educational institutions that is not a college. This definition might vary based on country.


Collegiates are the stakeholders of a college that bring college in functionality. They are the group of members to whom a college is dedicated to providing education. In this article, we have focused on the difference between college and collegiate to clarify your confusion regarding these two terms. We have also shown the importance of these two terms as two social and educational entities. 

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