Is there any difference in meaning between the two words? In high school, they taught us "escuela" for "school" instead.

The same holds for estudiantes and alumnos.



Thanks for contacting Lingvist!

In the Spanish education system, colegio is an education establishment for children and young people (3 - 11 years old), and instituto a secondary school (12-17 years old). Escuela is, in this specific sense, a synonym of colegio (an education establishment where children are given primary education):

  • Yo fui al colegio / a la escuela hasta los 11 años, y al instituto desde los 12 hasta los 17.

Regarding your second question, an estudiante is a person who studies in an educational centre, whereas an alumno is a person receiving education, regarding a teacher or the school, college or university where he/she studies.

  • Soy profesor en un colegio público y mis alumnos son estupendos.
  • Mi hermano es estudiante universitario.

¡Feliz aprendizaje!

last edited by Javier

¡Muchas gracias! Maybe it should be clearer in the tool and synonyms should be accepted :) ?

last edited by Daniel Wiehoff


We will include the posts colegio vs instituto, estudiante vs alumno as grammar hints on our system. As regards synonyms, we can't include escuela and colegio as such because they don't have the same grammatical gender (colegio is masculine and escuela is feminine). If we did so, it would create confusion in sentences such as Hay cinco niños nuevos en el colegio (*Hay cinco niños nuevos en el escuela ---> grammatically incorrect).

¡Feliz aprendizaje!

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