U.S. university life (nonstandard) (was: Re: Canadian University Life)

Nat Case hedberg at vermontel.net
Tue Mar 7 14:09:49 EST 2000

Interesting distinction:

"Going to university" is definitely non-US usage (when the Canadian comic
strip "For Better or Worse" talks about it, it suddenly becomes clearly a
Canadian product, which most of the time it isn't). Direct translations
(Universität, Université, etc) seem to be standard across Europe.

"Going to college" implies undergraduate status in the US. [aside: In the
ballad "Lang A-Growing," the new bride's father says, "we'll send him off to
college for one year yet." Does this imply pre-baccalaureate (like Eton
College)? If as the song says he was married at 14, then it seems likely.]

"Going to school" or "in school" is even more general. Maybe an implication
of trade or vocational school ("I'm going to school to learn how to make
whozits" ), but in can imply you don't want to make a big deal out of the
impressive place you're going.

There isn't a comparable usage for post-baccalaureate studies in the US
except for "in graduate school" or "going to graduate school." Is there in
Commonwealth countries?

Interestingly, more and more colleges in teh US are becoming Universities,
though they may have quite small graduate programs. It looks to me like
Canada has a much smaller proportion of undergraduate-only institutions
(which is what the distinction in the US has long been); those that are
undergraduate only tend to be specialized (Art, for example), or community
colleges. Is there the equivalent of a liberal arts college  elsewhere in
the world (in which general studies predominate, with very demanding level
of work and a high level of direct faculty-student interaction)?

Nat Case
Hedberg Maps, Inc.

>From: Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com>
>To: dwj at suberic.net
>Subject: U.S. university life (nonstandard) (was: Re: Canadian University Life)
>Date: Tue, Mar 7, 2000, 1:43 PM

>Most universities in the US have colleges within them--like, I went to
>Brigham Young University, and I graduated from their College of Humanities.
>It's like subdivisions of learning.  Only we say we're "going to college"
>whether we're going to Harvard or the local School of Massage Therapy.
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