Nowadays, each student dreams about studying in the USA. American private schools are becoming increasingly popular every year. Studying programs, offered by leading private boarding schools, and a wide range of language courses in the USA attract students from all over the world.
What are the distinctive features of studying in the USA?
Studying at private schools in the United States, as well as at other educational institutions, corresponds to modern trends in the world. Practically, American educational programs in English differ significantly from the British classical ones.
American private boarding schools, as well as private schools in Britain and boarding schools in Switzerland, take an important place in the whole educational system of the state. Here students have an opportunity to develop important skills for future career, choose those subjects useful in real life. In addition, private schools in the USA provide high level of safety. Students are constantly under supervision, and the campus is carefully guarded. Also, there are comfortable residences for living, food and an excellent level of school facilities: modern equipment, the newest and highly developed infrastructure and technology. American private boarding schools are not just one building, but the whole campuses which occupy large territories with academic and residential buildings, infrastructure for sports and outdoor recreation (including stadiums and swimming pools), a first-aid posts or even mini-hospital, theaters and creative studios, residences for living, administrative and economic buildings, etc.
SMAPSE services are rendered free of charge. Please note that we are not intermediaries. SMAPSE can also help you get discounts, scholarships or grants for studies. With our professional assistance you will be able to give your child an opportunity to study at private boarding schools and colleges in the United States of America.
You can at any time address to the samples of entrance tests for admission to private boarding schools in the United States, which you can complete in our office without visiting the school!
There are more than 30 000 educational institutions in America, with a large proportion accounting for boarding schools (boarding schools with accommodation on campus) and a variety of colleges. US schools are divided into two categories:
Foreign students can study at both of them. Best schools in America are located in financial, business, and cultural centers: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, etc. No less popular are the various camps in America. In addition to seasonal studying English in summer, spring, autumn or winter, camps offer diverse programs of entertainment, excursions and sports. Seasonal language courses in the USA will help your child spend holidays not only with pleasure, but also with improving command of English!
For parents wishing to give their child secondary school education in the USA, private boarding schools and colleges will be an excellent choice. They are perfectly equipped and have modern infrastructure, provide a high level of academic preparation. Living on campuses during studies is safe and comfortable. The best American schools and colleges in the USA are focused not only on improving academic skills, but also on self-development and physical development of students. Moreover, living on campus could develop leadership qualities, responsibility and independence.
In comparison with foreign schools, US private boarding schools are more democratic and have more individual approach to each student. In the United States, there is a nationwide curriculum but it is not strictly mandatory, so each school can change it according to personal orientations and priorities. In addition, each student can get maximum attention from the teachers, study programs that fully correspond to personal preferences, characteristics, requirements and talents.
It is also worth noting that classes at American schools are more flexible. Only basic subjects are considered compulsory and are attended by all students without exception. At the same time, students attend various optional electives, which makes it possible to communicate with different students instead of sticking to one fixed group. As a result, students acquire tolerance, good manners, respect of someone else's point of view and opinion, as well as get broader horizons.
Some of the institutions have a division according to the gender of students: there are institutions only for boys and only for girls. It is a centuries old tradition of European education.
How many levels are there at US school? How many students are studying on each of them? In the USA secondary education is divided into three stages:
Junior schoolchildren are surrounded by close attention and care. For example, world-famous yellow school buses take children to school and back after school. All subjects in the curriculum are taught by the same teacher. Classes are formed according to the level of abilities of children. In order to determine the basic knowledge before the start of studies, a general test is conducted. It reveals development of thinking abilities, ability to analyze, level of diligence, perseverance and discipline.
Usually, there are 3 classes: A, B and C. The A group is considered to be the gifted ones. Many schools offer specialized, more complex and diverse programs.
Studies at this stage are usually conducted according to the system of credits (educational units). The curriculum introduces vocational guidance that helps choose future profession basing on personal preferences, interests and talents. Moreover, at the end of each year there are general transfer examinations. Each year, students are assigned to new classes with different mix of students.
High school students are studying both compulsory disciplines and optional electives. Each student can choose priorities for his specialization, so that they can better prepare for entering chosen faculty. This may be the sphere of agriculture, industrial or academic sphere, general or commercial (business education).
Another important feature of studying in the USA - almost all schools are divided according to accepted educational stages. In general, schools offer a full educational cycle from elementary and preparatory school to graduating classes. In the United States children usually attend a certain elementary school, then move to the middle school (possibly with a change of educational institution), and then to high school again – another building or another school. This allows students to adjust their personal curriculum according to the level of abilities and interests. For example, they can choose a profile thematic classes, more deep study of foreign languages, or a more prestigious school with complicated programs.
Actually, foreign students usually enter middle and upper classes without any problems. Especially it concerns American private schools that are really loyal to international students. Many parents also have following question: at what age Americans complete a boarding school? Usually, at 18 years old. The age of foreign graduates is slightly lower, usually 16-17 years old. However, at US schools there is a graduation year - the 12th grade.
The academic year in the USA is divided into semesters which consist of 6 months. Each school can establish exact dates of semesters independently.
There are various subjects at American private boarding schools. From most basic and important - English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, economics, business, information technology, art, and to more narrow-profile: robotics, film production, world culture, theatrical art, French, German, Chinese, Latin languages, psychology, philosophy, the foundations of leadership, anthropology and much more.
A full list of disciplines you can find in the "subject" section in the search bar at the top of the webpage.
Schedule varies depending on the institution and chosen specialization. Each institution has its own individual approach to each student in order to develop academic progress for particular student.
Assessment system in the USA is also worth mentioned. It is a 100-point system or the letter designation instead (where A is the highest grade, the best score, and F – an unsatisfactory evaluation grade). In the upper classes, most schools switch to credit system (credit units) - to complete each subject course, it is necessary to collect a certain number of credit points, and the minimum amount each institution determines independently. The amount of earned credit points has an impact on not only ability to move to the next level of studying, but also on the amount of financial grant or scholarship.
Please, note that discipline at private schools in the United States is very strict. That is why many parents prefer sending much money for studying at private institutions. They can be fully confident in the safety and comfort of their child.
Here are some examples of school rules in the USA:
In order to enter boarding schools in the United States or language courses in America, you must follow certain rules and collect the necessary package of documents. Be sure to take care of admission issues in advance. In spite of the starting studies in September, the receipt of applications usually ends in January-February of the starting year. The lists of students for the next year is ready in around March or April.
Successful admission requires the following:
Most US educational institutions accept the results of TOEFL or SAT. However, you may need to pass a personal interview or internal examination of the school in America. Your grades for the tests and exams should be quite high. If the level of English is considered to be insufficient, the child will be offered a supportive (preparatory) language course. Also, to test the level of knowledge in basic school subjects, a special examination can be offered. In the USA the most common examinations are the ACT test and IQ Test (Intelligence test).
There are almost no entrance exams at US universities. All high school students take various exams and tests (for example, the SAT exam) at the end of the graduate year of their studies. Then, results are sent to selected colleges, higher schools and universities. After graduation, students have to wait for a response from selected institutions and an invitation to a bachelor's degree programme at chosen university.
Tuition fees depends on the rating of a boarding school or a community college in the USA, set of additional services, location of the educational institution. Therefore, prices for studying at private boarding schools in America start from 40 000 USD per year with accommodation and meals. The most expensive and rich schools have a price range of up to 70 000 USD – 90 000 USD per academic year. At community colleges in the USA prices for education start from 20 000 USD per year and can reach 35 000 USD.
Fee-paying educational institutions in the Southern and central states offer more democratic prices: studying in Tennessee, Florida, Montana, North and South Carolina, Colorado is cheaper, than in California, Los Angeles or New York.
Don't hesitate to contact SMAPSE experts at any time as they are always ready to help you and answer all questions.