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Comparison of British and American schools: differences and characteristics


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Comparison of British and American schools: differences and characteristics


Studying English abroad today is popular among foreign students. The countries that first come to mind when it comes to studying English abroad are the USA and the United Kingdom. Annually, a grat deal of foreign students enter secondary schools in Great Britain and America.

Which country is better to choose for studying English abroad? What features to consider? In this article, SMAPSE experts will examine the features of the American and British educational systems, as well as the similarities and differences in the average educational institutions of the two countries.

Great Britain or America: what school to choose for a foreign student

The United States and the United Kingdom equally welcome children, students, teenagers and students who want to improve their English skills. The key differences between the educational systems of the two countries are related to the structure of secondary education, the period of study and other factors.

  • In the USA there are more than 2000 private schools - their graduates have a high academic level for successful admission to prestigious universities of the Ivy League. Britain offers foreign students a choice of 2,500 boarding schools with classical British education, which will open the doors to OxfordCambridge and other elite universities not only in the country, but all over the world.
  • US private schools are more democratic than boarding schools in England. The latter pay tribute to rigor and discipline, although to a lesser extent than before. In many British schools for students, for example, a form is required, but this does not prevent British schools from creating an atmosphere of friendship and mutual assistance between teachers and students.
  • Secondary education systems in the two countries have many common features: the structure of secondary schools includes primary, secondary and high school classes, the teaching begins at age 7 in both Britain and America. Local and foreign students can also take a course of preschool preparation, where young students are accepted from 3-5 years. The secondary level is designed to gain knowledge of the general education curriculum, but the older classes are already preparing students for a profession or continuing their studies in higher education.
  • In American institutions of secondary education, students have a more personalized curriculum than in English. Institutions of both countries allow students to form their own curriculum, choosing the disciplines that are their priority. Also, the US schools on a regular basis apply various tests to assess the knowledge and overall intellectual level of students. For example, all students before the release must pass the SAT or ACT test.
  • British educational institutions are more careful about the issue of professional choice. In British institutions, the student must decide on the specialization in the middle-class stage, so that 2-year-olds already have to study subjects in the chosen direction. American students choose specialization before graduation, that is, high school students continue to study general subjects, including the disciplines they need to enter universities.
  • Each country has its own national curriculum: the UK has A-level, and in America - High School. This is an educational course for high school students, where a successful passing of the program gives the student the opportunity to obtain a diploma of full secondary education. This international document will be ubiquitously relevant abroad. British schools also give students a certificate of international design IB after the completion of the relevant program - International Baccalaureate (this course is available in some US schools).
  • In the educational systems of both countries special attention is paid to the extracurricular life of students. American and British educational institutions equally seek to educate not only clever, but also healthy and comprehensively developed young people. All conditions for physical activity of different types (football, volleyball, swimming, golf, rugby) and creative (dance, music, theater, painting, sculpture) are created here. Weekends are often devoted to sightseeing trips, where the children have the opportunity to get acquainted with the culture of the country in whose territory they are trained. In the evenings, the administration organizes various entertaining activities for pupils - quizzes, talk shows, performances, discos and performances.
  • Prices and ranking: the cost of studying for pupils of American schools, including residence in a residence, full board meals + extra-curricular activities, will amount to 35,000-75,000$ for one academic year. Prices for obtaining secondary education in England with similar criteria - from 25,000 to 50,000 British pounds sterling. As for the rating agencies, they are not always the most suitable option for foreign students: it is always better to focus on the comfort of the child than on the location of the institution on the list of schools.

When is it better to send children to study abroad?

Foreign students can start their studies in England or America from the age of 7. The child needs to quickly and painlessly get used to the new situation in another country with a foreign language, therefore, experts recommend switching from a domestic school to a foreign one when the child turns 11-13 years old.

This period is considered optimal for the replacement of the school for several reasons: first, the teenage child no longer depends on constant communication with parents, which means that the territorial distance will be normal. Secondly, at this age children have enough effective memory, which is very important for immersion in a foreign language and adaptation to another environment. The sooner he memorizes English, the more comfortable the study will be.

Finally, schoolchildren retain a natural curiosity and a desire to learn new things. Immersion in a suitable environment (a foreign school, for example) will help to strengthen and further develop these qualities, which will positively affect the educational component.

Also note that before traveling to a foreign educational institution, caring parents should organize a small program for language preparation for children. Adaptation and the subsequent learning of the language will be better if a student arrives in England or America, at least with a basic English proficiency.

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