Education system in the USA
There are over 4,500 universities and colleges in the USA, offering 10 times the number of tertiary-level study opportunities than any other country. Which makes it much easier to follow your career aspirations with so many options to choose from. Let’s find out how the American education system works.
US High School (age 14-18)
In the United States, a high school is a school for children usually aged between fourteen and eighteen. High School students are required to take a courses in Maths, English and Sciences. Additionally, most schools calculate a student's grade point average (GPA) by assigning each letter grade a number and averaging those numerical values. The top grade for GPA is 4.0.
ACT & SAT Exams
All US colleges and universities accept scores from either the ACT or SAT. The ACT exams include a multiple choice assessment that tests mathematics, English and Science, also has an optional essay section. ACT scores range from a low of 1 to a max score of 36. The average score is 21. The SAT exams (Scholastic Aptitude Test), measure ones mathematical, writing and critical reading abilities. The SAT is out of 1600 and the average score is 530.
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Admission to University
Normally universities look at: GPA – the Grade Point Average achieved at their high school, what subjects the students studied at high school, SAT or ACT grades, a personally essay and sometimes and interview with the college. They also look for what extracurricular activities the students have taken part in.
At university, courses are assigned a certain amount of “credit hours”. Most courses are 3 credits however they depend on how much time is spent in class each week. Therefore, some courses can be 1, 2, 4 or 5 credits. In order to graduate, students must complete a minimum number of credit hours that their degree programs require. In the US, most bachelor degree programmes do not ask students to write a final thesis, however is required for most Master’s programmes.
Over a third of all college students’ transfer schools at least once during their degree. Famous transfer students include Barack Obama, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
A graduate school (sometimes shortened as grad school) is a school that awards advanced academic degrees (i.e. MSc). General requirement that students must have earned a previous undergraduate (bachelor's) degree with a high grade point average. As well Graduate Record Examination or “GRE”, tests a student’s quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, verbal reasoning and analytical writing skills. A majority of Masters Programmes require the minimum score on the GRE.
A PhD is a degree awarded to people who have done advanced research into a particular subject. PhD is an abbreviation for 'Doctor of Philosophy'. PhD qualifications are available in all subjects and are normally the highest level of academic degree a person can achieve.