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I am creating a Google form for post-secondary students which has a question, "Where do you go to school?" I want to use the term "school" instead of "university" or "college" to cover all the cases, from community college to large universities. For me, as a native American English speaker, asking a post-secondary student "where do you go to school?" is more natural than "where do you go to college/university?".

Is this usage idiomatic in Spanish, or is "escuela" only used for primary/secondary contexts?

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    You have to say: ¿ Dónde estudias ? Because in Spanish one says: hacer estudios universitarios. Forget escuelas, forget colegios. – Lambie Apr 14 at 16:20
  • Why are you accepting answers unrelated to your question? – Lambie Apr 15 at 16:33
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Question: I am creating a Google form for post-secondary students which has a question, "Where do you go to school?" I want to use the term "school" instead of "university" or "college" to cover all the cases, from community college to large universities.

Answer, with no cobwebs: In Spanish, one says: hacer estudios universitarios o hacer estudios en un instituto técnico.

So: ¿ Dónde estudias ? is what one would actually say.

This applies to all Spanish-speaking countries and would also apply to the US usages.

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Escuela is usually understood as

  1. f. Establecimiento público donde se da a los niños la instrucción primaria.

but there are also other senses:

  1. f. Establecimiento o institución donde se dan o se reciben ciertos tipos de instrucción.

with no age or type of education restriction. As an example, in Spain there is the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Sevilla that teach foreign languages to adults.

Furthermore, some university level teaching centers with 3 years teaching plans were, until quite recently, called "Escuela Universitaria" (Escuela de Enfermería, Escuela de Optica, etc.) to differentiate them from the "Facultad" (with 5 years teaching plans).

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We usually say "school" for the little ones (3 to 12 years old) and for students between 12 and 18 years old it is said "institute". Later would come "University".

In fact here we hardly use the term "escuela" for "school", but "colegio" colloquially "cole".

Good luck!

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  • However, engineering schools are also called “escuelas de ingeniería“. – aerobiomat Apr 1 at 12:06
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    And "escuela de arte, arquitectura, diseño", etc., but if asked "¿A qué escuela vas?" one would generally asume the person asked is at most under 18 if not younger, probably not in university. The school you go to on university will come after to refine a previous question, and would probably never be asked or answered to differentiate if someone goes to school or university / community college or its equivalents. – Jaime Santa Cruz Apr 2 at 14:26
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Answering from Chile:

Private schooling uses "colegio" for everyone from 7 to 18 years old. If you are referring to the public schooling system it may be more common to use "escuela" or "liceo". From 14 to 18 years old on the public system you may be enrolled on a "liceo técnico profesional / agrícola / industrial". For all older students we will go with "universidad" or "instituto profesional" (technical degree); this will be undergraduate students, and graduate students as well.

In general you may use "colegio / liceo" from 7 to 18 y/o and "universidad / instituto profesional" for undergraduate students, or the more ample term "educación superior".

In your specific formulation I would use "¿En qué universidad o instituto estudias?"

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  • The OP was clear that this is college/university. The colegio thing is not relevant and just confuses everything. – Lambie Apr 14 at 16:21

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