US High School Education

us-high-school-educationHigh schools in the US have two kinds, namely Public School and Private School, the proportion of public school takes up 85% in the US, where local students who pay nothing are supported by local governments. In accordance with American Immigration Law, public schools accept international students whose study period is less than one year only (applicable for international exchange students only). The proportion of private schools takes up 15% in the US, which are divided into middle (grades 5-8) and Upper School (grades 9-12). Private schools are owned by private institutes or religious groups, which are developed by non-governmental funds for education of local or international students. There are about 200 accredited private schools in the US, hundreds of which are famous. Private School has two kinds, namely Boarding School and Day School. Generally international students shall apply for boarding schools, except otherwise the students’ parents work or live permanently in the US or the students have guardians, international students cannot apply for day school.

Comparison Between Basic Data from Boarding Schools and Public High Schools (Provided by American Boarding Schools)

  1. Proportion of students who think the courses set in the school have academic challenges: 91% in private school; 50% in public schools.
  2. Time to complete homework per week: 17 hours in private schools, 8 hours in public schools.
  3. Proportion of students who think schoolmates have high quality: 75% in private schools, 49% in public schools.
  4. Proportion of students who think that the leadership of students are fostered: 77% in private school, 52% in public schools.
  5. Proportion of students who are satisfied at the school in admission: 87% in private schools, 39% in public schools.
  6. Proportion of students who become senior managers in middle age: 44% in private schools, 27% in public schools.

Characteristics of Private Boarding Schools in the U.S.

  1. A long history, focus on elite education and overall development of students. Many schools have a history of more than 100 years, and some have a history of 300 years, beside study results, the schools focus on the overall development in non-academic aspects (as innovative spirit, leadership, observation and analysis capabilities.
  2. Small class teaching, where students can enjoy specific care and education. There are 12 student in each class averagely, and even 5 or less in some classes.
  3. Focus on fostering students’ individual capabilities and strong points, and make students further develop on the basis of common education. Many college level special course are set to provide more space for students with potentials to study Extracurricular activities set in non-academic fields make students to develop overall.
  4. The 24h closed education brings a safe and comfortable environment for students to study. The 24 hour guard in boarding schools makes parents carry no burdens.
  5. First-class facilities, and colorful campus life. Beside modern teaching facilities, there are admirable sport and cultural facilities, such as indoor gymnasium, rugby court, tennis court, music hall, art center and library, which are prides of the boarding schools.
  6. Instruct students to study for admission to ideal universities. Admission service departments are set in all universities, where teachers have high academic background, and they have well mastered the application procedures, requirements for admission, skills for application and SAT, and established closed relations with enrollment departments of universities so as to ensure the students’ admission to ideal universities.

Term Setting, Subjects, Study Modes and Extracurricular Activities

Term setting

Terms will be in September every year in the US, and completed in early June of the next year, the terms shall be 36 weeks, including two terms. Every academic year contains two holidays (summer holiday and Christmas day) and two short holidays (Thanksgiving Day and Easter Sunday).

Subjects (Grades 9-12)

Grade 9: English (I), algebra (I), world history of civilization, global science, foreign language, sport, computer, and one elective
Grade 10: English (grammar and writing), geometry, biology, world culture and geography, sport, one or two electives
Grade 11: American literature, algebra (II), chemistry, American history, humanities, sport science, and two electives
Grade 12: English literature, maths, American government, economics, physics, humanities, sport science, and two electives
Electives: advanced maths, art, history of art, computer, contemporary history, creative writing, photography, world issues, music, music appreciation, publishing and yearbook, drama, speech, chorus, and indoor music
Notes: The subjects mentioned above are sourced from Southwestern College for reference only, and the subjects will vary in different universities.

Study Modes

Differing from the spoon-fed education mode in China, the high schools in the US adopt heuristic education. For any course, students shall collect and arrange documents and write reports. There are many chances for questions and discussion in class, which different great from Chinese education, and Chinese students have to take one-term at least to adapt to the teaching mode. Only self spurring can help students advance. For students who have excellent results or strong points in some aspects, college credit courses (AP) are opened in American schools.

Extracurricular Activities

For a long time, American private and board schools are famous for rich extracurricular activities, which are related to the overall development of students in the school. Main activities include sport (basketball, volleyball, hockey, tennis, golf, squash ball, track and field, gym), music (apparatus & instruments, chorus), art (fine arts, sculpture, oil painting), speech and debates, script (drama and performance), periodical edition, community service, field exercise and the like. The activities can foster students in all aspects and develop their potentials, which make the admission rate in boarding schools higher than that in public schools, especially the admission rate of IVY universities, for what the famous universities focus on are the overall development of students but not a bookworm.

Requirements for Enrolment, Fees and Deadlines for Application

Requirements for Enrolment

1.Academic records in latest two years at home
2.TOEFL, SSAT, or SLEP results
3.An individual statement
4.Three Recommendations

Deadlines for Application

Most universities: January 15 or February 1
Some universities: rolling