The American Education system offers a wide range of choices for international students from high school to higher education. It is no surprise that international students aspire to study in the USA . International students aspiring to study in the US educational system will benefit from understanding the system.
Prior to higher education, American schools have 12 years of education that includes – primary school (or elementary school), the middle school (or junior high school) and then the high school. The elementary school is around six years and then a student progresses into middle school. A diploma or a certificate is awarded on graduation from high school.
After high school, the students can go for higher education - College or University education. The US education system offers a wide range of institutions.
There are 3 types of institutions in the US namely:
- Vocational Institutes
- Community colleges and
Vocational institutes and Community colleges offer an associate degree. Some students can also convert this associate degree from a community college to a university degree at the undergraduate level through credit transfers. These can be private schools or public schools.
The US Higher Education System: Levels of study:
Undergraduate: It typically takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. In the first two years, a student is required to take a wide variety of classes in different subjects before focusing on a specific area of study.
Generally, the US has a 4-year bachelor’s degree with a specific name given to each year:
- The first year is called Freshman
- The second year is called Sophomore,
- The third year is called Junior
- The fourth year is called Senior
Post graduate program in pursuit of a Master's degree typically takes one or two years to complete.
Just like American students, International students need to submit their academic transcripts for admission into an American university or college. These include your grades or “grade point average” or grade points. It is important to find the US equivalent of your last qualification from your home country. You will also be required to submit test scores of qualifying exams that are required to qualify for American education at undergraduate and postgraduate level e.g. SAT, GMAT , GRE .The academic year in the US generally commences around August or September and continues through to May or June.
The total population of the US is around 325 million and total student enrolment in higher education is around 19 Million. Of these, international students comprise almost 1 million, which is over 5 % of the student population. California, New York and Texas are the top states in terms of the total immigrant population as well as international students.