The US Higher Education System Explained

As an international student, you may be wondering how colleges and universities fit into the larger US higher education system. Students in America are required to go to school between the ages of six and 18 in what are called grades, which run from 1st through 12th. (There is also an earlier option, called kindergarten, for the year before 1st grade, but it is not mandatory in most US states.)To get more news about 美国文凭, you can visit official website.

Primary, or elementary, education lasts until 5th grade, middle school or junior high school covers 6th through 8th grade, followed by secondary education in 9th-12th grades. Secondary education can cover both college-preparatory curriculum or vocational training.

After 12th grade, students have two options for post-secondary education: vocational training (typically a year or two, designed for immediate employment in a trade) or higher education (typically a two-year associate’s degree or four-year bachelor’s degree in an academic program).

For international students in British-style education systems, you may have had 13 years of education before entering post-secondary studies. Other countries may only have 11 years of pre-university level studies. Typically, for students enrolled in post-secondary education in the United States, US colleges and universities require 12 years of education.
In many countries, post-secondary institutions are called universities. However, in the US, the words college and university are often used interchangeably. Some are even called institutes (e.g., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology). Within larger universities in the United States, there are different colleges or schools that represent different academic areas of study (e.g., College of Engineering, School of Business).

Depending on where you are from, the best colleges or universities may be public or run by the national or regional/state government. But in the United States, the federal government does not manage any college or university. Instead, the governments of the individual 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other US territories have the authority to operate, fund, and (in some respects) control public colleges and universities within their boundaries.

Alternatively, private colleges can operate on their own, without direct control from state or national governments. For instance, hundreds of private colleges in the US were founded by religious denominations or churches, such as the University of Dayton (affiliated with the Catholic church) and University of the Pacific (a Methodist university).

According to U.S. News & World Report, in 2017 there were 4,298 post-secondary colleges and universities in the United States: 1,626 public, 1,687 private, and 985 for-profit. Among the top twenty US universities with the most international students (according to the 2019 Open Doors Fast Facts report), 13 are public and seven are private. So, remember: quality is not determined by whether a college or university is public or private.
While most international students come to the United States for academic programs, some students enroll in technical or vocational colleges designed for job training, like flight school or air traffic control programs.

Additionally, another option in American post-secondary education is community college. Community colleges offer low-cost education in local communities and provide workforce preparation or credits toward completing a bachelor’s degree. According to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), there are almost "1,200 2-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students” enrolled in these colleges. Approximately 100,000 international students currently attend community colleges in the United States.