US EDUCATION SYSTEM
Article from the Study in the
American education offers a rich field of choices
for the international student. From abroad, and even from within the U.S.A.,
there is such an array of institutions, programs and locations that the choices
may overwhelm the student. To simplify the choices, a student must carefully
study how each program and location can fulfill the student's goals. In order to
make informed decisions, a student will need to know how the U.S. education
system is organized. Let's start by examining the educational structure.
Most Americans attend twelve years of primary and secondary school. With a
secondary school ("high school") diploma or certificate, a student can enter
college, university, vocational (job training) school, secretarial school, and
other professional schools.
Primary and Secondary Schools
Primary classes begin around age six for U.S. children. They attend five or
six years of primary school. Next they go to secondary school, which consists of
either two three-year programs or a three-year and a four-year program. These
are called "middle school" or "junior high school" and "senior high school"
(often just called "high school"). Americans call these twelve years of primary
and secondary schools the first through twelfth "grades."
Grade and Course
The word "grade" has two meanings. It describes a year of education.
Americans call the first year of school "first grade." The world "grade" also
means a mark or rank, such as a "grade" of B, or a good "grade" on an exam. Thus
an American would say, "In the ninth grade, my grades were average."
The word "course" usually means "subject." For example, a student would take
a course in accounting for one term or semester. A "course of study" is a full
program consisting of several courses. Business Administration is a course of
study, and accounting would be one of the courses in that program.
After finishing high school (twelfth grade), U.S. students may go on to
college or university. College or university study is know as "higher
education." You should find out which level of education in your country
corresponds to the twelfth grade in the U.S.A. You also should ask your
educational advisor or guidance counselor whether you must spend an extra year
or two preparing for U.S. admission. In some countries, employers and the
government do not recognize a U.S. education if a student entered a U.S. college
or university before he or she could enter university at home.
Study at a college or university leading to the Bachelor's Degree is known as
"undergraduate" education. Study beyond the Bachelor's Degree is known as
"graduate" school, or "postgraduate" education. Advanced or graduate degrees
include law, medicine, the M.B.A., and the Ph.D. (doctorate).
Where you can get a U.S. higher education?
1. State College or University
A state school is supported and run by a state or local government. Each of
the 50 U.S. states operates at least one state university and possibly several
state colleges. Some state schools have the word "State" in their names.
2. Private college or University
These schools are operated privately, not by a branch of the government.
Tuition will usually be higher than a state schools. Often, private colleges and
universities are smaller in size than state schools.
3. Two-Year College
A two-year college admits high school graduates and awards an Associate's
Degree. Some two-year colleges are state-supported, or public; others are
private. You should find out is the Associate's Degree will qualify you for a
job in your country. In some countries, students need a Bachelor's Degree to get
a good job. Two-year college or "junior" college graduates usually transfer to
four-year colleges or universities, where they complete the Bachelor's Degree in
two or more additional years.
4. Community College
This is a two year state, or public college. Community Colleges serve a local
community, usually a city or a county. Many of the students are commuters who
live at home, or evening students who work during the day.
Often community colleges welcome international students. Many of these
schools offer special services to international students such as free tutoring.
Many community colleges also offer ESL or intensive English programs. Classes
are often small and less competitive than at larger state universities.
Some community colleges provide housing and advising services that an
international student might need. Again, find out if a community college degree
will be enough for you to ge a job when you return home. Most, but not all
governments, recognize degress from junior and community colleges.
» Top 10 Course options in USA
» Understanding the US Education System
» US Student Visa FAQs
» US Student Visa FAQs for Indian Students
» Reasons to Study in USA
» Student Travel Arrangement Information
» University Transfer Procedure