STUDY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The American education system offers a rich field of choices for international students. There is such an array of schools, programs and locations that the choices may overwhelm students, even those from the U.S. As you begin your school search, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the American education system. Understanding the system will help you narrow your choices and develop your education plan.
FACTS AND FIGURES
- The United States is ranked as the #1 host of international students followed by the United Kingdom in second place with a rising amount of students
studying in Australia, New Zealand, and Spain.
- The United States is ranked 5th in terms of number of college-degree holders amongst the age group of 25 to 64-year-olds. The U.S. is ranked 12th for its 25 to 34-year-olds in that same category.
- American universities have a near monopoly on the Top 10 places of world
universities ranking, with only Oxford and Cambridge challenging for a spot in the Top 10.
- One out of every eight Americans have been employed by McDonald’s at some point.
- Apple Inc has more money than the U.S. Treasury.
- 100 acres of pizza are served in the US every day.
Elementary & Secondary Education
Prior to higher education, American students attend primary and secondary school for a combined total of 12 years. These years are referred to as the first through twelfth grades. Around age six, U.S. children begin primary school, which is most commonly called “elementary school.” They attend five or six years and then go onto secondary school.
Secondary school consists of two programs: the first is “middle school” or “junior high school” and the second program is “high school.” A diploma or certificate is awarded upon graduation from high school. After graduating high school (12th grade), U.S. students may go on to college or university. College or university study is known as “higher education.”
A student who is attending a college or university and has not earned a bachelor’s degree, is studying at the undergraduate level. It typically takes about four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. You can either begin your studies in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a community college or a four-year university or college.
Your first two years of study you will generally be required to take a wide variety of classes in different subjects, commonly known as prerequisite courses: literature,
science, the social sciences, the arts, history, and so forth. This is so you achieve a
general knowledge, a foundation, of a variety of subjects prior to focusing on a specific field of study.
Many students choose to study at a community college in order to complete the first two years of prerequisite courses. They will earn an Associate of Arts (AA) transfer degree and then transfer to a four-year university or college.
A “major” is the specific field of study in which your degree is focused. For example, if someone’s major is journalism, they will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. You will be required to take a certain number of courses in this field in order to meet the degree requirements of your major. You must choose your major at the beginning of your third year of school.
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