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Introduction to the US Education System美國教育制度簡介 SEO default title

Education Systems


Introduction to the US Education System

Education System in the United States

Many international students are surprised to learn that the United States has no national education system. Since education is not mentioned in the U.S. constitution, school policy is a matter for each state to decide. The Federal government can influence education only by its limited fundings (around 5%) to each state.

High School

There is no national high school graduation examination, although some states might have a graduation (high school) tests. Curriculum is determined at the district level; for example, a state and its schools organization each set their own curricula. There are, however, state standards, which are a set of goals schools must reach. Students must pass state graduation examinations.

Click here for more details on US High School System, and here for our Recommended US Private High Schools - Boarding and Day Schools.

Higher Education

At the higher education level, students have a wide range of options when they choose a college or university. Although there are agencies that attempt to place American colleges and universities in rank order, the concept of “fit” is also important. The grade point averages (high school) of admitted students are important. Please take a look at our Community Colleges and College & University.

Click here for more details on US Higher Education, here for our Recommended US Community Colleges, and here for our Recommended US Colleges & Universities.

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USA Education System Chart

Type Age Level Institution Diploma
Research      研究院       。博士 Doctorate (Ph.D.)
Graduate       。專業學位 Professional Degree 
 School 22+     。碩士課程 Master Programs
  21 Senior   。學士 Bachelor's Degree
大學 20 Junior    
College or 19 Sophomore 社區學院  。副學士 Associate Degree 
University 18 Freshman Community College  +  高中畢業證書 (HSCP)
  17 Grade 12   。高中畢業證書
  16 Grade 11 High   High School Diploma
中學 15 Grade 10 School  
Secondary 14 Grade 9    
School 13 Grade 8    
  12 Grade 7 Middle   
  11 Grade 6 School  
  10 Grade 5    
  9 Grade 4    
小學 8 Grade 3 Elementary   
Primary 7 Grade 2 School  
School 6 Grade 1    
幼兒園 4-5 Kindergarten    


Considerations for an international Students

Majors offered, location, number of students enrolled and Campus Culture are all factors in a prospective student’s decision. For example, many overseas students with excellent grades simply chose the highest ranking Universities he/she can enter, but within each state, there are many high-quality, highly selective colleges and universities that may “fit” the student much better.

These schools are located in large and small towns all over the state. Some enrol less than 200 students; some enrol tens of thousands. Some colleges and universities are publicly funded, while others are privately supported.

An important value in American education is equal access. At al levels, the goal is for each learner to reach her or his potential, whatever that might be. As an international student, you will hear lots of debate about the proper balance of excellence and equality.

USA Education System - Level vs Age