Are you new to the U.S.A.? Are you planning your kids’ education in the U.S.A.? Do you have any idea about the US Education System? Do you have a proper plan to manage the educational career of your kids? Are you aware of the expenses and quality of education here in the U.S.?
I believe, as a parent, you might need answers to such questions. It is necessary that you must have complete information regarding all these concerns. Because, as parents, you are always ready to put full efforts for the success of your children.
You are always ready to pay any sacrifice so that your children enjoy every facility they want during their educational career. You are also prepared to work day and night and spend everything on providing the best education to your children.
But if you do not have complete knowledge of the education system, the expenses, and the policies, you will undoubtedly face problems regarding your child’s education. Despite spending your precious time and money, you will not be able to achieve the success you want for your children.
In short, this article will provide you with a good knowledge of each and everything you will need to manage for a good career of your kids. In addition, it will provide you with the necessary instructions on how to manage the expenses and save the money for the better education of your children.
So, stay attached and read this article till the end. It will help you to get over all your concerns and develop a better sense of understanding of the U.S. education system.
Introduction to the US Education System
The American Education System is quite indifferent to other systems applicable all around the world. American education system offers multiple fields for international students.
The students, however, may find it challenging to decide on the career options they would have. Sometimes it becomes difficult, even for those who are from the U.S.
There is no doubt that the quality of education in the U.S. is amongst the best when compared to other countries in the world. The U.S. has the most advanced education system. State and the local government play a significant role in designing the curriculum.
International Worth of the U.S. Education
Most of the students from different countries of the world come to obtain a degree in the U.S.A. Approximately 5% of all students enrolled in higher-level education in the U.S.A. are international students, and off course the numbers are growing each year.
These students believe that studying in a highly ranked school, college, or university prepares them for the best. Also, these universities offer multiple sets of options to international students allowing them to gain advanced knowledge.
Undoubtedly, the Schooling and Educational qualification obtained from any of the American institutions are highly recognized all around the world.
The Major Drawback of US Education System
Even though education in America can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but as we all know that something good always comes at a high cost. So, it is hard to finance education in America. Especially for International students as it is costly compared to other countries in the world.
You can manage these expenses only if you have done proper planning regarding your children’s career. You should be well aware of the costs that you will have to encounter at a later stage.
At the same time, you will also have to save money to be spent later on providing the best education to your children.
Usually, it is a common practice here to see that both the parents (father and mother) doing a full-time job to provide necessary facilities to their kids. It is not easy to manage the expenses if only a single parent is earning.
Thus, to spend a better life for themselves and their children, parents put their full efforts. They also try to earn a good amount of money for better health, education, and other necessities of their children.
Planning the Career of Your Children
Now let’s discuss how to plan a successful career for your children. I will be starting right from day one till graduation. You will see how a child begins his education in the U.S.A. and what are the hurdles he has to face. Also, we will have a look at the expenses along with the methods to manage these expenses.
The Preliminary Stage
Before starting any education or going to school, the infants (kids usually of the age 2-5 years old) require proper training and care as it is necessary for their character building. They also need love and affection from someone, more precisely from their parents.
But what if parents have to work all day to do a hard and tough job their children. As mentioned earlier, while staying in America, it’s not easy to manage all the household expenses if only a single parent is earning.
So, the problem is, who will look after your children when you are at work? The answer is the Day Care Centers
Day Care Centers
These centers are small institutions which take care of the young kids during the day when their parents are at work. They provide them with necessary entertainment and other such facilities which are required by the kids during the day.
But again, some good thing comes at a reasonable cost. You have to pay the monthly expenditures to these institutions for their services. If you talk about some reputable centers, then definitely they are costly.
Parents are working to save some extra bucks for their children. So, they cannot afford to spend a massive amount of money on these Centers.
So, what to do then? How to avail the facility as well as save the money at the end of the month? To handle this problem, you have to switch to plan B.
Apart from these expensive centers, there are many individuals or small companies that take care of your children at a much-reduced rate when you are at work.
In comparsion to others, they might be providing the same facilities and necessary care to your child but at a much-reduced cost. So, by careful analysis and observation, you can drop your kids at these small houses which look after your child when you are busy earning for them.
Anyhow, before taking a decision, you must run a detailed investigation to check that the necessary facilities and entertainment are being provided to your kids there. Have a complete look for the standard of care they are taking.
Also, you should be very well aware of the security services that are available there. So, do check all the necessary pros and cons of that center before dropping your child there.
However, when your child grows up, its time to get him admitted to a school to start his educational career, for that, let’s have a look at the American education system.
The US Education System:
As you make your plans, it’s essential for you to get familiarized with the American education system. Getting a better knowledge of the system will help you narrow your choices and develop your education plan.
The American education system consists of the following stages:
- Elementary school
- Middle School
- High school
- Post-secondary (college)
A short description of this system is given below:
In Elementary school education, a student completes five grades of education. These five grades focus on introducing students to a broad range of knowledge, basic academic learning, reading, and socialization skills. The kids will clearly need these skills to perform well in their future.
Children usually begin elementary school at the age of six years. They attend this for five or six years.
Junior high school (or middle school) provides secondary education to the students. The junior high school covers grade six through eight. Subjects such as Science, Mathematics, English, and other social sciences are taught to the students during this education.
Furthermore, most of the states in the U.S. have made health courses mandatory so that the students can learn about first-aid, nutrition, and drug awareness. Foreign language, Art, and physical education are also made compulsory by some schools in the curriculum.
High school begins from ninth grade and progresses till twelfth grade. The mandatory subjects in the U.S. high schools are:
- Science – physics, biology, and chemistry
- Mathematics – calculus, geometry, statistics, and algebra
- English – composition, humanities, literature and oral languages
- Social Sciences – history, geography, and economics.
Upon graduation from high school, a diploma or a certificate is awarded to the successful students.
Undergraduate School is the most expensive education in the U.S.
It either offers a two-year program which is called associate’s degree or a four-year degree program called Bachelor’s degree.
The most common Bachelor’s degrees are:
- (B.A.) Bachelor of Arts
- (B.S.) Bachelor of Science
- (B.F.A.) Bachelor of Fine Arts
- (B.S.W.) Bachelor of Social Work
- (B.Eng.) Bachelor of Engineering
- (B.Phil.) Bachelor of Philosophy
- (B.Arch.) Bachelor of Architecture
Schools in the U.S. give more emphasis on practical understanding and extra-curricular activities.
THE US HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM
The Bachelor and Master level education in the U.S. is undoubtedly the one that is most recognized all over the world. Students from across the globe come here to persuade their higher studies.
A student, attending a college or university and has not earned a bachelor’s degree, is said to be at the undergraduate level. It usually takes about four years to complete a bachelor’s degree.
During the first two years of study, a student generally takes a wide variety of courses. These courses are known as prerequisite courses such as literature, science, social sciences, arts, history, and so forth.
A “major course” is the specific field of study in which your degree is focused. For example, if someone’s major is journalism, he will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A student chooses the major at the beginning of his third year.
A very unique and beneficial characteristic of the American higher education system is that you can change your major multiple times. American students usually change their majors at some point in their undergraduate studies.
However, you have to keep in mind though that switching majors may result in more courses, which means more time and money.
Graduate Level (Master’s Degree)
A university graduate with a bachelor’s degree persuading his higher studies is said to be at the graduate level. International students from some countries are only permitted to study abroad at a graduate level.
To gain admission at the graduate level, you will need to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Graduate programs usually take one or two years to complete.
For instance, the M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) takes two years. Other master’s programs, such as journalism, take one year.
A large portion of your time in a Master’s program is spent of course in classroom study. A graduate student, however, has to prepare a long research paper called a “Master’s thesis” or complete a “master’s project.”
Graduate Level (Doctorate Degree)
Many graduate colleges consider the attainment of a master’s degree the first step towards earning a Ph.D. degree. Whereas at other colleges, students may prepare directly for a doctorate.
Certainly, it can take three or more years to accomplish a Ph.D. degree. While, for international students, it may take as long as five to six years.
At least one year of this study is spent conducting firsthand research and writing a thesis. This research paper must contain views, designs, or research that have not been previously published.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE US HIGHER EDUCATION
The academic calendar begins in August or September and certainly continues through May or June. The academic year at many colleges is composed of two terms, which are named as “semesters.” (Some universities use a three-term calendar named as “trimester” system.)
Whereas, some colleges further divide the year into the quarter system of four terms, including an optional summer session.
The classroom atmosphere in an American college is very dynamic. Students from all over the globe have gathered under a single roof. A student is expected to share his opinion, argue on his point, give presentations, and participate in class discussions.
International students find it one of the most surprising aspects of the American education system.
In addition to that, each week professors assign textbook and other readings. You are expected to be up-to-date with the required readings and homework so you can participate in class discussions and understand the lectures.
Secondly, professors issue grades to each student enrolled in the course. Grades are awarded based upon:
- Class participation by the students
- Midterm examination
- Research or term papers, or laboratory reports to be submitted for evaluation.
- Possible short exams or quizzes
- A final examination to be held after the last class meeting
Each course consists of a fixed number of credit hours. These credit hours are usually the same as the number of hours a student spends in the class for that course every week. A course is generally worth three to five credit hours.
If a student enrolls at some new university before finishing a degree, most credits earned at the first university can be used to complete that particular degree at the new university.
It means a student can transfer to another university and still graduate in a reasonable time.
The grading system applicable in the U.S. Universities is the G.P.A. (Grade Point Average). This grading system can be confusing, especially for international students. The interpretation of grades has much diversity associated with it.
For example, two students who attended different colleges submitted their transcripts to the same university. They both have a 3.5 GPA, but one student attended an average high school, while the other attended a well-reputed college that was academically challenging.
The university might consider their G.P.A.s differently because the two schools have different standards. Therefore, there are some essential things to keep in mind:
- You should arrange a U.S. equivalent of the last level of education you have taken in your home country.
- Pay sincere attention to the admission requirements of each university as well as individual degree programs.
- Regularly meet with an educational consultant to make sure you are meeting the requirements.
Types of Colleges in the U.S.
State College or University
A state college is supported and run by a state or a local government. All of the 50 U.S. states operate at least one state university. Most of these public universities have the name of the state, in their names: for instance, Washington State University and the University of Michigan.
Private College or University
These colleges are privately run as opposed to being run by a branch of the government. The tuition fee will be higher than state colleges. Most of the times, private U.S. universities and colleges are smaller than state schools.
Most of the students choose to study at a community college to complete the first two years of prerequisite courses. In a community college, they will earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) transfer degree. Then they will be transferred for a four-year degree to university or college.
There are several types of associate degrees available, but the distinguishing factor is whether or not the degree is transferable.
Institute of Technology
An institute of technology is a college that provides a minimum of four years of education in science and technology. Some offer graduate programs, while others offer short-term courses.
Dealing with educational Expenses
Now let’s talk about the expenses you will have to pay during the education of your child. As mentioned earlier, the students in America attend primary and secondary school for a combined total of 12 years.
The most attractive point of the U.S. education system is that the education up to higher school is free in the U.S.
So, you need not worry about the education of your children up till higher school.
Schooling in your residential area
The only condition you have to follow is that you must admit your children to the schools which lie within your residential area.
If you want that your child should go to any other school, then you will have to shift your residence to that area as well.
This shifting might increase your expenditures because the living costs might be more in that area. So, you should focus on saving money instead of wasting it to change school.
The concept of free education for the kids up until higher school is quite pleasing indeed. But the real problem starts once your child has completed higher school education.
As soon as, your child completes his higher school studies and gets admission in a college or a university, the expenses suddenly rise. The college or university fee is exceptionally high in the U.S.
Certainly, it is never easy to manage the educational expenses once your child starts studying at a reputable college in the U.S.
To meet these requirements, the parents should plan and save a good amount of money from being spent on their children when they reach their college. In this way, they will be able to provide the best education to their children.
Apart from savings, there are some other possibilities as well that may help you manage the expenses of your children once they start their college life.
A better plan is that the parents should work hard at the start and earn and save as much amount they can from their jobs.
However, when they feel they have a significant amount saved, they should instantly invest that money to start a small business. Parents should show some courage to take the risk of initiating a startup.
They need to explore some startup ideas and choose the one that suits you and is following your budget.
A startup, if succeeded, will cover the cost and will help you in earning a good amount of money very soon. You can save or even invest this money, which will ultimately help you to manage the expenses once your children reach the college level.
Another option is that once your children reach the college level, they should understand their responsibilities and start earning with you to manage their expenses. There are plenty of options available for them as they are mature enough now, and they have a high school certificate with them.
So, they should find a part-time job or learn a new skill. This will help students to earn extra money. This earned amount will release the burden from the parents, and the student will be supporting himself to manage his expenses.
Hence, the concluding point is that you must conduct thorough research to plan a successful career for your children. You should make proper arrangements to earn and save money for the better qualification of your children.
Above all, the students should have a definite goal in their mind regarding their careers. They should also be well aware of the American education system and set their plans according to that. This awareness will help them to become successful graduates and enjoy a good life.