An American high school prepares students for a successful transition to university or higher education studies. High school, or grades nine through twelve, is intended to engage students in a challenging and inspiring course of study that is college-preparatory.
American high schools normally offer a wide array of extra-curricular activities outside of the academic daily activities, which include arts, sports and service opportunities for individual and collective enrichment.
Secondary or high school education in India, as in the United States, begins after eight years of elementary and middle school education. In the U.S. primary or elementary school is from grade one through grade five, followed by three years of middle school, grades six, seven, and eight. The American high school is comprised of grades nine through twelve.
As in India, American students take national examinations after grade ten, usually the SAT or ACT exams, which are administered externally. The United States does not have a national educational system. The individual states will influence curriculum and study requirements.
College admissions depend on a number of factors including the average grade point (G.P.A.) of all grades during your four years of high school, extracurricular activities and your SAT scores.
The SAT exams are a standardized test administered by the Educational Testing Service on behalf of the College Board. This exam measures a student’s readiness for university studies and the score is a combination of two general topics: mathematics and critical reading and writing. Most colleges and universities require SAT or ACT scores or an alternative examination for admission.
Type of American High School
The United States is a very dynamic country, which covers an entire continent. Many different cultures coexist within its boundaries. For students deciding to study at an American high school, these schools are divided into public high schools and private high schools.
A public high school will expose a student to a genuine American high school experience. Public schools follow curriculums decided by the individual state, and they are less costly than private schools.
Unlike public schools, which enjoy local, state and federal financing, private schools are funded by the families of the students paying tuition. Depending on the school, its academic reputation and location, costs will vary.
The academic year in an American high school usually will begin in August or September and continue through the month of May or June. Class sizes tend to be small, allowing for individual attention for single students. Mandatory high school studies include:
- English: oral and writing composition capabilities, humanities, English literature
- Foreign Language (Most common are French, Spanish and German. Some schools offer Latin, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and American Sign Language)
- Mathematics: geometry, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and statistics
- Physical Education
- Science: biology, physics, chemistry
- Social sciences: economics, geography, U.S. government, U.S. history, World history
Elective classes, which are required in some schools may permit you to choose between:
- Arts (Music, pottery, photography, etc.)
- Trades (auto mechanics, woodworking, nursing, etc.)
- Computer (applications, web design or graphics)
- Physical Education or participation in a sport
When considering an American high school, one should consider language support, available housing and if the high school features an international student program.
Improve your English
Undoubtedly Indian students will be good at English, however, an American high school will afford you the possibility to gain better comprehension and improve your vocabulary thanks to interacting constantly on a daily basis with native speakers.
While Indian students excel in just about anything academic, an American high school offers the possibility to frequent AP courses or Advanced Placement courses while in high school. These courses bring high achievers a step closer to university studies and allow for qualified students to obtain college credits for some AP courses.
Students may take AP courses and then sit for an AP exam. If they successfully pass the exam, they may test out of beginning basic college courses. Also, some American high schools allow students to enroll in college classes while still in high school and they are also given high school credit for taking these courses. This is one way to begin getting college credit free while not paying college fees.
Some education outside of the U.S. is frequently focused on grades, which are based on memorizing, American schools emphasize understanding and learning together with memorizing. Just because you have a good memory, does not mean you will get a good grade. Textbooks are usually updated and current.
Education in an American high school is pragmatic and application-based. American high schools are concerned about practical knowledge and how it can be applied, not just what is stamped in a textbook. American schools emphasize learning the subject not on merely passing an exam.
Extracurricular, Sports and Outdoor Activities
In American schools, extracurricular activities are an important part of any school’s curriculum. They play an important if the not vital role in a child’s development. Extracurricular activities may include:
- Music, dance or theatre
- Future business leaders
- Debate club
- Service organizations
Americans love sports and most American high schools have integrated sports programs within the high school giving students a possibility to participate. Most Americans like to spend time outdoors in outdoor sports and games. Particularly gifted athletes will find opportunities for university sports and scholarships and/or professional athletic careers.
American high school students have access to numerous libraries with many books and documents digitalized. Most high schools will have their own theatres or auditoriums, sports arenas and or playing fields, and well-equipped state of the art science and computer laboratories.
While both Indian and American high schools produce top students that are very well prepared and competitive on a global level, if a student hopes to continue with university studies in the U.S., an American high school preparation could facilitate admission to an American university or college in his or her future.