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an educational institution in Great Britain, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United States. There are three basic types of colleges. One type is a higher educational institution. Another type occupies an intermediate position between the secondary school and the higher educational institution. The third type of college is a secondary school and is intended for students older than 16 years of age.
Colleges were first established in Great Britain in the early 13th century. The college in its traditional form has been preserved in the oldest universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. The colleges of these universities occupy separate buildings, in which students of various departments not only study but also live.
Colleges affiliated with other British universities, as a rule, are to a certain degree independent specialized educational institutions. They are similar to Soviet higher educational institutions.
The British educational institutions that are most accessible to the children of workers are technical, pedagogical, and other specialized local colleges. The technical and other specialized colleges train highly qualified workers, craftsmen, and technicians. More advanced training is provided by regional technical schools. Only regional technical colleges, advanced technical colleges, and national colleges are higher educational institutions. Highly qualified engineers are trained at colleges that are a part of a university (for example, the Imperial College of Science and Technology of the University of London). Colleges of education prepare teachers for primary and secondary schools. Graduation from a secondary grammar school is a requirement for entrance to a college of education.
The designation “college” has traditionally been given to very old independent and elite secondary schools, such as Eton and Winchester, which differ in no way from other British public schools. Certain private educational institutions, which are inaccessible to workers’ children because of a high tuition fee, are also known as colleges.
Colleges were first established in the United States in the 17th century. Based on a British model, these colleges trained ministers and civil servants. In the first half of the 19th century the first universities were created, by adding schools (or departments) of medicine, law, and theology to the most prestigious colleges. Colleges are the most widespread type of higher educational institution; some are parts of a university, and others are independent educational institutions.
Most colleges are four-year schools, which prepare students for the bachelor’s degree. They accept students who have graduated from a secondary school, which together with elementary school constitutes a 12-year curriculum. Every university has at least one college of arts and sciences. Upon completion of one to three years of study at the college, a student may enter a field of specialization. In addition to providing a general education, many colleges train students in a specialized field. Technical colleges prepare engineers, and teachers’ colleges train elementary and secondary school teachers.
There are land grant colleges in each state. Their purpose is to give instruction in the agricultural sciences and other specialized fields. These colleges have experimental stations, where research work is carried out.
In the United States there are also a large number of two-year junior colleges, which are intended to improve a student’s general educational background. Junior colleges are actually higher secondary schools, where students are trained for certain professions that do not require higher education. There are also junior colleges with technical programs.
In the United States, colleges charge tuition. The tuition in private colleges is significantly higher than in state colleges.
an educational institution in France, Belgium, the French-speaking cantons of Switzerland, and a number of countries in Africa and Asia that were formerly part of the French colonial empire. In France the first collèges were founded in the Middle Ages under the auspices of universities. All collèges were closed during the Great French Revolution. In 1808 the name “collège” was given to secondary schools either financed by the local authorities or privately owned, whereas secondary schools supported by the national government were called lycées.
Prior to 1959, the French collège was an academic secondary school with the same status as a lycée: they had an equal number of grades and the same departments and curricula. Under the reforms introduced in 1959, the lycée became the sole academic secondary school in France. At the same time, general collèges (collèges d’enseignement général) were established—secondary schools offering a four-year course of study (upon completion of a five-year elementary school), whose graduates could enroll in specialized secondary schools or in the upper grades of a lycée. The collèges of secondary education created in 1963 for children between the ages of 11 and 15 combine grades 6 through 9 of the lycée, the grades of the general collège, and the upper grades of the primary school.
The collèges in African and Asian countries, including Algeria, Morocco, Laos, and Cambodia, are generally lower secondary schools. In Belgium collèges are secondary schools for girls.