What is the Difference Between School, College and University in the USA?

What Is The Difference Between School College And University (USA) This question often confuses many people; even I used to get perplexed by these terms as they indicated different things, compared to my country. However, in USA, school is referred to any place where you learn; that also includes Universities. They categorize every education institution as school.

There are some key differences between a college and university though.

College usually starts after high school, which means after 12th grade. From 13th grade, generally around 17, or 18, you’ll start college. This will last for two years, and you’ll be given associates degree, along with certificates at completion.

In contrast to that, University’s duration is about 4 years, where you’ll be studying undergrad programs. Let’s discuss more details below.

What Is School In The USA?

Generally speaking, it’s all educational establishments, but it’s more commonly known as the first stages of education, AKA elementary school, middle school, and finally, high school.

  • Elementary School: This is the very first stage of education, where children begin their journey. Students start from kindergarten (K), and then go up each year by one grade, until class 5. After the 5th grade, they graduate to middle school. By now, kids will be around 11 to 12 years of age.
  • Middle School (Junior High) : Middle school level studies start from 6th grade, and end at 8th grade. This is the perfect time for students to cultivate their skills, to prepare for higher education. In middle school, kids learn English grammar, spoken English, reading, basic mathematics, sciences (basic biology and chemistry, along with earth science), and social studies. These aforementioned topics will prep them for the harder subjects to come in the future.

In some cases, students stay in the same school, from elementary to middle school. During this period, children are more open to adapting and flourishing.

  • High School: High school is where higher studies begin; things get serious here. Students start this level from 14 years of stage and finish around 18, or 19. This particular time is crucial as it’ll dictate your University, and College admission. The grades are 9-12.

You’ll learn:

  1. English, consisting of essay writing, literature and critical analysis.
  2. Mathematics; algebra, geometry, mensuration and calculus.
  3. Core science subjects; physics, biology, chemistry.
  4. Social studies; world history, USA history and civics.

If students want, they’ll also have the opportunity to take advanced classes to prepare for college. High school provide various clubs, sports and other fun activities.

Also Read: What is the Difference Between Quarters, Semesters, and Trimesters?

What is College in The USA?

Colleges are usually separate campuses of an institution; this stage generally comes before you proceed to University, for example, if you want to save money on education, you can opt for a 2 year community college program ahead of University undergrad courses.

Some colleges offer graduate programs, but it’s not so common. However, it’s a great place to start your further higher studies. You can attain a 2 year program from this level, and then, go on to a University of your choice to complete the remaining two years.

What is University in the USA?

Unlike colleges, this is a group of campuses in one location. University is where students go to earn a bachelor’s degree. However, there are more levels to that. As for starters, you’ll study to complete your chosen major. Courses can last around 4 years, but if you’ve already completed the first 2 years from a community college, then you’ll only be studying for 2 more years afterward at a university.

Universities provide mainly three programs:

  • Undergraduate: It’s what I explained above; in this stage, you’ll study to obtain a bachelor’s degree on your major, and minor if you have one. You can also do double major during those years.
  • Postgraduate/Master’s: A more advanced level of studies; Master’s will come after completing the undergrad program; it usually lasts for a year or two. This degree enriches your experience and makes your CV look more prim, providing an in-depth knowledge of the subject you did your undergraduate course on.
  • Doctorate/PhD: This is arguably the highest level of education one can attain during their lifetime; it takes at least three years to complete, where you’ll be doing researches, writing papers and attending lectures. For international students, it may take a little longer to finish.

Also Read: Bachelor of Arts Vs Bachelor of Science: What’s the Difference? (BA and BS Degree)

Top USA Universities For International Students

In case you’re searching for the best options for enrollment to an USA university, I’ve narrowed down a few you can do your research on:

  • Yale University: One of the most popular universities, not only in the USA, but throughout the whole world as well. It’s ranked 17th in the global chart currently. From bachelor’s to PhD, it offers it all.

Location: New Haven, Connecticut.

Tuition fee: $62,250.

Also Read: Understanding The American Education System (Explained) 2023

  • University Of Delaware: With a beautiful campus and diverse options of courses, they certainly have a lot to offer. It’s one of the oldest universities as well; it was first founded in 1743. The university has a long history behind it, and is rather affordable too.

Location: Newark.

Tuition fee: $15,410 for residents, and $37,930 for out of state students.

  • University Of Cincinnati: They have one of the highest acceptance rates when it comes to international students, about 75 to 80 percent; differing each academic year. It’s a public research university, encompassing over 44000 students.

Location: Ohio, USA.

Tuition fee: About $28,540 for international students.

  • Long Island University: Another university with a high acceptance rate for international students; a whopping 81%. It offers tons of courses and a serene educational atmosphere for all students.

Location: Long Island, New York.

Tuition fee: $38,868.

And that’s a wrap! I hope this article provided you with enough insights to go ahead and pursue your dreams to study in the USA. Good luck studying!

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What’s the difference between a college and a university?

Colleges mainly just offer undergrad programs, whereas universities also carry postgraduate degrees, along with the undergraduate ones.

What is the difference between undergraduate and graduate degrees?

Undergraduate programs come right after high school completion, and after undergraduate, you’ll pursue postgraduate degrees, which are further advanced.

Are there any age limitations to attend US universities?

Typically you must at least be 17 years old, with a high school diploma.

What are the different types of graduate degrees?

Master’s and PhD.

How long is an MBA program in USA?

It should take about one to two years.

Also Read: USA Scholarships for International Students 2024

Also Read: How to Apply For Student Loan Forgiveness in the USA?

Abeda UK

Abeda Jannat Scholarship Analyst from United Kingdom. Her main focus is to share how you can crack IELTS Exam, How you will get a Scholarship from Best University in the world, also she will share all her experiences about IELTS, University Admission or Application process, etc.

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