Why did college become the predominant term for postsecondary education? And is there any difference between the two institutions?
While university appears to be the older of the two terms, dating as far back as the 13th century, schools and students in North America have embraced college to describe most places of higher learning. There is no rigid definition of the words, but there are some general attributes for each.
A college is typically a four-year schoolthat offers undergraduate degrees like an associate or a bachelor's. (Community colleges are often two-year schools.) They don't typically offer master's or doctorates, and the size of their student body is typically the smaller of the two.
北美的college一般指提供本科学位（比如准学士学位或学士学位）的四年制大学。 （社区学院通常是两年制高校。 ） College一般不提供硕士或博士学位，学生规模通常也没有university大。
Universities, on the other hand, tend to offer both undergraduate and graduate programs leading to advanced degrees for a larger group of students.
They can also be comprised of several schools—referred to as colleges—under their umbrella. A university could offer both a school of arts and sciences and a school of business. The University of Michigan has a College of Engineering, for example.
University还可以包含college， 即学院。 一所university旗下可能有艺术学院、科学学院和商学院。比如密歇根大学（university）旗下就有工程学院（college）。
While many of these traits are common, they're not guaranteed. Some colleges can be bigger than universities, some might offer master's degrees, and so on.