The US Higher Education System Explained
US universities and colleges have been great opportunities for international students. Students who are looking for a chance to study in America must have good knowledge of the US higher education system. You must know more about this system if you want a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.
The pattern of the US Higher Education System
An international student will have confusion as to how universities and colleges come under the US Higher Education System. It is between the ages of 6-and 18 that American students go to school and they will be in grades from 1st to 12th. Even though students can join a kindergarten before 1st standard, it is not mandatory.
Until the 5th grade, it is elementary or primary education. From 6th to 8th, it is junior high school or middle school and the secondary education will be from 9th to 12th grade. There can be vocational training or an introductory college curriculum in secondary education. Therefore, students get two options after their secondary education. The first option is vocational training, which will be a course of one or two years and is a good way to get immediate employment. Another option is higher education which can be an associate’s degree of two years or a bachelor’s degree of four years in any of the academic programs.
Before getting into post-secondary studies in an education system of British style, international students must have completed 13 years of education. However, there are countries where pre-university level education lasts only for 11 years. Normally, international students who are enrolling for post-secondary education in US universities or colleges need 12 years of education.
Various Higher Education Institutions in the United States
- University vs College
Post-secondary institutions in several countries are known as universities. However, the words universities and colleges are interchangeably used. Some colleges are even called institutions. The bigger universities in the US will have schools and colleges for various academic studies.
- Private colleges vs State colleges
Colleges or universities can be either private or run by state or national governments in most countries. However, in the US, no colleges and universities are managed by the federal government. But the state governments can operate, control, and fund universities and colleges that exist within their boundaries. Private colleges will not be controlled by national or state governments. They will operate on their own. Most of the private colleges in the US are managed by churches or religious sectors.
- Community Colleges vs Tech Colleges
Most international students opt for academic programs in the US. However, other students choose vocational or technical programs for job training. Community colleges are also available as a part of post-secondary education in the US. They are designed to offer education at low cost in the communities and prepare the students for the workforce along with finishing a bachelor’s degree.
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Before joining any of the courses in an American University, make sure that you research maximum about the educational system and college. This will help you to make maximum use of the education you get in the US.