What's good about the US education system

School system in the USA

Exactly when a child needs to start school varies by state, as education and schooling in the United States are state-controlled.

Kindergarten (Nursery School / Preschool)

The first year is known as kindergarten and is part of the school system in the United States. There are those children under5 Yearsand subject not yet compulsory schooling. The class size is between 18 and a maximum of 24 children.

Note: The care facility is often chargeable and takes children from the age of 6 weeks.

Elementary School

From the age of 6 the kids will be in the Grundschule, comparable to the German elementary school. Depending on the state, they attend elementary school for 5 years. The school day includes in elementary school in the US about 6 hoursn and includes scheduled breaks with a paid lunch. In addition, the focus is particularly on writing, reading and arithmetic. Some elementary schools also offer a foreign language. The Class sizes vary greatly but amount about 20 children on average per class. Furthermore, you should inform yourself in advance the grading system to inform. In elementary school, the pupils receive grades, but not with numbers, as in Germany, but with digits. That is why we have created a table below which you can use as a guide:

in WordGerman grading systemAmerican grading system
Very good1A.
Well2B.
Satisfying3D.
Sufficient4C.
Inadequate5
Insufficient6F.

Middle School (Middle and Junior High School)

After primary school, they attend Children aged 11-14 years the middle school, the so-called Middleand Junior high school. Different than in Germany all children here on the same level. Middle school means grades 6 to 8.

Differences: Middle School and Junior High School

According to this, the difference lies in the educational concept.

Junior high schoolMiddle school
  • Performance-oriented
  • Focus on academic training
  • Promotion of the social skills of the students
  • Work in a team

Comprehensive school (high school)

With 15 years the children then switch to one High school, the the Grades 9 to 12 covers. Furthermore, the school year is divided into two half-years. Did you know that grade levels in the United States are named by name?

classSchool system in the USA
9freshmen
10sophomores
11juniors
12seniors

In such High schools students can choose between different levels of difficulty of the courses decide:

  • Honors
  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)

Such courses are especially designed for students who later want to go to a good college. Furthermore, teenagers in American High schools a wide range of electives.

At the end of the school year, students have a so-called Final Exam lay down and receive a high school diploma upon passing.

Note:A private school in America can get very expensive and not many can afford to attend. However, a visit is associated with prestige and excellent training.

Education system in the USA: university studies

It is no duty in the United States a college degree to have. Nevertheless, every year a large number of young people decide to study, especially there are various international universitiessuch as Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which have a very good reputation.

tuition fee

In the US they are Tuition fees are very high. A standard university already requires over $ 35,000 annually. The fees for elite universities are therefore almost unaffordable. Many students are forced to take out loans and have to pay off their debts for years. Unfortunately, there is no improvement in the situation, as the tuition fees increase every year.

Would you like to spend a semester abroad in the USA? As a German citizen, you can apply for a student visa here. Find out more on the Visa in America page.

We hope we can resolve your concerns about the US school system. For more information about living in the US, visit our Working in the US and Living in the US pages.

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