How to choose a school in USA: tips for parents

American School System

From the ages of 6 to 12, children attend elementary school. The elementary education curriculum includes English language and literature, mathematics, science, civics, vocational education, the aesthetic cycle (music, painting, singing, sculpture), physical education and sports. It provides basic skills and knowledge and develops a conscious attitude toward learning.

Secondary school usually consists of two levels: middle school and high school. In middle school, one-third of the study time is spent on a common curriculum, with the rest spent on electives. High schools typically offer five required subjects as well as many academic and practice-oriented learning profiles.

Secondary schools are diverse in terms of the programs and types of general education they implement. Secondary school programs include more than 200 different courses: they are designed to take into account a variety of options for learning subjects. Usually, at the beginning of the 10th grade, students make the decision to continue their education. Many secondary schools have programs that combine work and study.

Various indicators are used to assess the quality of secondary education in the United States: the number of high school graduates; the level of knowledge acquired (determined using school talent tests).

Advantages of U.S. Schools

Education in the United States is very popular with foreigners. The United States has more international students than any other country in the world. Education in U.S. educational institutions provides ample opportunities for further professional careers.

The main advantages of American education.

  • Best educational institutions. Traditionally, U.S. universities occupy the top positions in the ratings of various educational institutions. They even significantly bypass the classical European universities with centuries-old traditions.

  • Recognition of diplomas from around the world. American diplomas are traditionally cited among employers and recognized in other states without any problems and additional confirmations.

  • A large selection of majors. Here you can find a classical education in physics, mathematics or become a master of African history. The most important thing is to make the right choice so you don't run into employment problems in the future.

  • Freedom of choice. Students and schoolchildren independently determine all major fields of study. At the university, courses can be adjusted by adding additional courses to them or by transferring required courses to other semesters. This also helps students to develop a responsible attitude toward their own behavior. No one is going to chase a person and force them to pursue this or that career.

  • Good attitudes toward foreigners. The United States is a country of immigrants. They are tolerant of different religions, colors, cultures, etc., and the large number of foreigners will never make a student from another country feel like a black sheep.

  • Study the most advanced technology. Traditionally, graduates of American educational institutions are familiar with all the latest science and technology. This allows you to start working even in the most modern production of the future, without additional education.

  • Hands-on. All education in the United States focuses on acquiring knowledge that can and should be applied to real life. Many programs at colleges and universities are created in partnership with global companies that have a real need for specific experts.

  • Independent living experience. All U.S. educational institutions have fully equipped campuses. They have everything you need to study, live and even work part-time while you study. Often, former students of American universities and colleges consider the years spent living on campus to be the best years of their lives.

The focus is not on a specific country, but on the globe. American education is popular with many world leaders. This is because it focuses more on global issues and global values.

What should to look for when choosing a school?

1. Choose the school that best suits your child's interests and goals. Not the best, but the best for you.

2. Consider schools that are not highly specialized, but have several strong divisions. By choosing only one strong school, for example, in STEM, you are depriving your child of the opportunity to take an art subject and limiting his ability to find further study in college. Teens can seriously change their academic preferences, and it's best to combine a wide range of study options into one in order not to change schools.

3. Find a professional study abroad provider. Work with an advisor you trust through the admissions program. The level of trust here should be no less than that of your doctor.

4. Don't rely on ratings. There is no single high school ranking in the United States! If you start looking at schools by rating, read up on ways to construct them. The ratings were created for American families and do not take into account the specifics of international student learning.

5. The SAT average should not be used as a reference for school selection. U.S. schools do not prepare for the SAT. When choosing a school, be sure to check if the school organizes TOEFL and SAT preparation for international students and if it is included in the price. Sometimes the cost of the program can be as much as 20% of the tuition.

6. The chosen university is not the same as the accepted one. Being interested does not mean they are successful. Some parents are guided by this indicator, which does not carry a special semantic load, when searching for a school.

7. the location and size of the school. If you live in a big city and your son or daughter likes to spend time in city parks, cafes, attending exhibitions or walking around the city with friends, then choosing a school of 200 students located in a village is not the best choice for this student, because he will have to live there for 2 to 4 years and be extremely bored. And don't think that he will study for sure now. In addition to the academic part, the school teaches socialization and environmental adaptation, but should not teach survival in isolation. 8.

8. quality of life and living conditions. They should make the student feel comfortable. But it should also be understood that the student is not going to a five-star hotel all-inclusive, but to a student residence to study and live. Setting priorities correctly will help students start adjusting to student life immediately.

9. consider non-religious schools and Catholic schools. Why? Catholic schools are not 100% religious, they do not require church attendance, but at the same time they help form traditional human values, which are very important to modern students. The important point is that 20 to 60 percent of Catholics attend Catholic schools in the United States. The rest of the students belong to a different religion.

10. Consider schools that provide additional academic and social support for international students. Even if a student arrives with a C1 level of English, he still needs academic English because he has not yet studied in the U.S. system and does not know how to write essays, do project reports and choose the main pool of future universities. These are general recommendations, although separate essays can be written for each project. 

How much it costs to study in the United States

In private schools, the average cost of education in the United States ranges from $15,000 to $35,000 per year. In some schools, this amount reaches $50,000. Education in public schools is cheaper: $10,000 to $20,000 per year. This does not include housing, textbook costs and other student fees.

It is possible to study for free in the United States in the following cases: nominal scholarships are awarded if the applicant receives a grant.

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