Studying in an American school not only helps to gain knowledge and certificates that will help to enter a local university, but also to adapt to the country and participate in the educational process. But first, a foreign student is waiting for admission.
The system of secondary education in the USA
An elementary school is an independent educational institution in which one teacher leads all classes in the classroom. In some elementary schools, education follows a traditional subject curriculum that includes: reading, literature, writing, spelling, native language (oral), music, visual arts, arithmetic, history, geography, natural science, health, physical education, and physical labor native language and reading take up almost half of the learning time; arithmetic takes up the same amount of time as music, visual arts, and physical labor. About one-sixth of the time is devoted to physical education and health.
Elementary schools are characterized by a curriculum that is acquired according to the abilities of the students. Children who start the class are grouped according to test results. Tests are a series of different tasks that children must complete within a certain time frame. Serious and intense lessons are conducted with capable people who demand a high level of knowledge from the students.
High school in the United States is usually divided into two phases - middle school and high school - each lasting three years. There are no standardized courses, programs, or textbooks for middle school and other stages of education. Each school district develops its own recommendations for the allocation of study time and prepares its own program for each subject. However, among all the diversity, middle school education has common features.
The school year lasts 170-186 days in American schools; children study 5 days a week. The time is 5-6 hours per day (from 8.30 to 15.30). The school year is usually divided into several semesters. In the 8th grade there is a system of subject selection, and the compulsory subjects are English, mathematics, social sciences, science, physical education and health, music and art, labor (for boys), and home economics (for girls).
High school is a general education institution. Students usually leave school at the age of 17 or 18. In the vast majority of high school practices, the curriculum usually includes the study of mathematics (2 years), English (4 years), science (2 years), and social science (3 years).
Choosing between public and private schools in the United States
Public schools accept children who have moved to the U.S. with their families and have permission to stay in the country, as well as students participating in exchange programs. In the second case, the maximum length of study is only one year. There is also an age limit - only students between the ages of 15 and 18 can participate in the exchange program. Education in public schools is free, but the standard of education in U.S. public schools can vary widely - from good to frankly very poor. Also, it should be taken into account that the school itself is not optional: those who live with their parents go to their place of residence to study. Exchange students - to the school with which there is an agreement in the framework of the program. That is why most foreign students prefer to attend private schools.
Private schools are usually small educational institutions designed to teach foreign and American students. Education is free for everyone. Private boarding schools in the United States accept foreign children 11 years of age and older. In addition, starting at age 14, students may choose to live with a host family off campus.
Unlike public schools, private schools offer a higher level of education: excellent faculty, state-of-the-art teaching methods and school facilities, small class sizes and rigorous student selection allow private schools to maintain high academic achievement. Successful completion of a U.S. private school guarantees admission to a top university in any English-speaking country.
What to look for when choosing a school in the U.S.
When entering a U.S. high school (grades 9-12, ages 14-17), it is important to pay attention to academic rankings. In the United States, the list of best boarding schools is compiled based on SAT final test scores and admissions statistics from top universities such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, MIT and others. Now topping the list of the best schools in the United States are Phillips Andover Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy, St. Paul's School, Lawrenceville School, Groton School, Chot Rosemary College, Hotchkiss School, and many others.
Competing for a spot
In the U.S., high schools are dominated by students in grade 9, but many places are open in grades 10-11. As a result, competition among candidates increases as they get older.
When choosing a school, pay attention to the number of graduates who enter prestigious universities. College admissions committees pay close attention to the child's portfolio: interesting topics for graduation projects, experience in international volunteer activities, research in more complex disciplines. The quality of the school depends, among other things, on the availability of these opportunities.
Exams and admissions deadlines
When entering an American high school, two international tests are taken - TOEFL (English as a Foreign Language) and SSAT (English and Math). The complexity of these tests is that students may encounter unfamiliar task formats for the first time. The second feature is the deadline. You must register for the TOEFL a few weeks before the test begins. For the SSAT (administered monthly), the registration deadline is three weeks before the chosen date. Therefore, the earlier a student registers and passes the test, the better his chances of retaking it to obtain a higher score.
How to prepare for school in the USA
Due to the very specific requirements for applicants, especially from the perspective of the students, it is unlikely that you will be able to get into a school in the United States without additional preparation.
There are several ways you can improve your English, practice for exams, write essays and adapt to the study abroad format.
The vast majority of language centers operating offer special preparation courses for all types of exams, the results of which may be required for entry into U.S. schools. Some properly accredited educational institutions offer the opportunity to take the exam at the end of education.
A great way to prepare for school in the United States is to attend an American language camp. Spending two to three weeks in the U.S. with a professional native-speaking teacher will help you improve your English quickly and adjust to an unfamiliar environment. Of course, it is best to choose a camp at the school where you will be enrolled. So you can kill two birds with one stone - not only will you improve your English, but you'll also get a closer look at the educational institution and get an inside look at how the school works.
School prep programs
Some private schools interested in attracting foreigners offer their own preparatory programs specifically for applicants from abroad. This type of program usually lasts no more than one year. It includes intensive English classes and sometimes other subjects from the school's curriculum. Successful completion of a preparatory program is usually a guarantee of admission to an educational institution.
How much does it cost to study in the United States?
The cost of studying in the USA depends on two factors - the type and duration of the course. In any case, whatever courses you choose, their prices will prove themselves to be reasonable on the first day of study - you will quickly feel the progress of your studies due to immersion in the language environment.