TL;DR: they are synonyms, however in the educational meaning окончить is used
“Harvard graduated 500 students this year.” The college graduates you, and you graduate from it. https://www.quora.com/Which-is-correct-graduated-college-or-graduated-from-college
It is not correct. You can't say the college. If you use that article, you mean that he finished a step, a thing called the college; a college, that you can point at.
It's like if you considered an office to be a college, because if you say he finished the office, you mean he finished building the office next to my house; same for the college, which would look like you finished the college, as if it was some kind of room or something.
Is there anything like колледж in the russian educational system anyway?
In America, college is somewhat a synonym for "university" (although universities usually have graduate schools which colleges tend not to have). It is something you do after graduating grade 12 of high school. In India, "college" is the equivalent of grades 11 and 12 in the USA. Indians speak of PUC (pre-university college). My question is this: In Russian (and in Russia) what is the distinction between колледж and университет?
It's a bit complicated and it has roots in soviet education system, there were 3 levels of professional education, and most colleges are from the medium one (usually called техникум back then).
But in short their main difference is that college never gives even a bachelor degree (BSc), only a professional education (3-4 years), also most colleges take students after 9 obligatory years, while BSc in any university requires 11 school years. But you can go for BSc after a college, it would take 3 years instead of common 4 years.