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From sex education to student fraternities: how education in the USA works

Edition TJ collected information about the US education system.

Фото: Depositphotos

The classification of educational institutions in the United States is as follows:

  • School - any educational institution can fall under this concept, starting from an elementary school, ending with a university;
  • Institute - educational institution awarding certificates of professional development, professional certificates, etc .;
  • College - an educational institution in which are taught: undergraduate programs, high school programs, professional level programs;
    A university is an educational institution that issues bachelor, postgraduate and graduate degrees.

The school year begins in late August and ends in late May / early June.

School education

Children attend public schools attached to their area of ​​residence. Usually there is one such school in the district. Many parents first choose where the children will learn, and only then move on to the real estate issue. In some states, a lottery is provided, winning in which allows you to get to the selected school.

After the lessons, children of primary and secondary schools living at a distance of 3,5 kilometers from school are transported by the famous yellow bus for free. For high school, the minimum distance to travel on this vehicle is 5-6 kilometers.

Infographics: TJ

Basically, students learn the first option. Each school (primary, secondary, higher) is located in a separate building, which excludes the intersection of age groups.

In America, teachers are forbidden to disclose grades aloud, since each student must rely only on his own result.

Primary School

In elementary school, as in Russia, classes are taught by one teacher, except for physical education, music, and drawing. Classes are formed on the basis of testing children, the leaders fall into gifted classes that are shuffled every year: the composition of the class changes, as well as the teacher. The other two classes are children with a good test result and a class of children who have not been well tested.

In elementary school there are completely no exams.

If a child is late for classes, he needs to take a special ticket at the entrance, which states the reason for being late and it turns out that the parents know about it. If the student did not attend classes, parents will automatically be called and informed that the child is not in school. If parents want to warn in advance about the absence, then before the start of classes they call the dedicated line and leave a message to the answering machine.

high school

In high school, teachers conduct their own subject, the curriculum for which is compiled by each teacher with recommendations from the district.

Already in high school, students choose an 1-2 additional subject (cooking, art, etc.). If in the previous year the student received an excellent mark on the subject, from the new school year he chooses an in-depth program on it.

High school

In high school, students are given greater freedom to choose subjects for study, but there are also compulsory ones that you must attend to receive a diploma:

  • 4 of the English language;
  • 2 year of mathematics;
  • 2, Natural Sciences;
  • 3 of the Social Sciences;
  • 1 Year Art Course;
  • 1 year of physical education.

If the student has already decided on the choice of university or direction, then he knows in advance which items he will need upon admission. In many high schools, the choice is about the same:

  • publishing (journalism, the editorial board of the annual journal);
  • labor (car repair shop, wood processing);
    visual arts (photography, cinema, sculpture, painting);
  • game art (theater, orchestra, dance);
  • foreign languages;
  • additional sciences (statistics, computer science);
  • computer equipment (computer use, computer graphics, web design).

After the 9 class, students choose subjects that they would like to study further. The program is called Advanced Placement and includes 38 items:

Infographics: TJ

Points for completing courses (higher than 3,5) give an advantage to many universities for admission.

Since recent years, some high schools in the United States have allowed graduates to paint personal parking spaces (which they receive at the end of their studies) in the last school year as they please. Somewhere this has already become a separate event - on the same day families and friends of students gather in the parking lot to create a work of art together.

Students in each class of high school have their own name:

  • freshman - 9 class;
  • sophomore —10 class;
  • junior - 11 class;
  • senior - 12 class.

In some schools, pupils go to events in clothes of a certain color that corresponds to the class. So in the crowd, you can easily find out if it's a ninth-grader or already a graduate.


Sport and education are related concepts. In America, sports spirit is developed, educational institutions are equipped with good infrastructure - stadiums, swimming pools, sports halls.

Professional sports gives you the opportunity to get into a good college for sports scholarships. The finals of the season are held with completely "downtrodden" stands. Each team publishes its own merch, in which students go after graduation.

The school year is divided into sports seasons, during which schools compete with each other in various disciplines. Initially, teams are divided into leagues, from where the best ones go through the hierarchy to national appearances. The last school year means a lot to sports. At the end of the season, outstanding players are invited to colleges and universities, offering free tuition and other benefits.

In American teenage films, athletes are often shown who are popular with girls, have some privileges and can fly out of their team for poor performance. Yes, that's it.

Sex education

Sex education in US schools is divided into two types: "complete" or "limited abstinence." The program that will be in an educational institution is influenced by many factors: the principal, state, city, type of school.

  • Full - the program lasts from the 3-4 class to the 10 class. Pupils are told how to properly protect themselves, bring information about pregnancy, genital diseases, violence, abortions, etc .;
  • Restrained by abstinence - informs students that they should not have sex before marriage. Pupils do not receive any in-depth information. This method completely rejects the contraceptive method.

Sex education is not a required subject. The decision on the inclusion in the schedule takes the state. As of 2016 year, 23 of the state and the District of Columbia considered it necessary for students to receive such an education. The rest only regulate the content of programs, which are quite a lot. The non-profit organization Advocates for Youth singled out 11, which proved to be the most efficient.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 2014 year (this is a question of high schools):

  • 72% of private and public schools provided pupils with information on pregnancy prevention;
  • 76% of schools taught that abstinence from sex is “the most effective way to prevent pregnancy, HIV and other diseases”;
  • in 61,% of schools provided adolescents with information on contraceptive effectiveness;
  • 35% of schools taught how to use a condom correctly.

The topic of sexual orientation is also addressed in schools. 13 states require a discussion of this issue, 4 of which only bring negative information related to LGBT people. Nine others view this topic from both points of view.

Other facts about schools:

  • All desks are designed for one person;
  • Every day before the start of classes, school broadcasts, filmed by students of the cinema class, are broadcast;
  • In the school system there is a system of credits - points that are awarded for the course. To go to the next school you need to collect a minimum loan for this level. For a high school diploma, 100 credits are required.

Higher education

Infographics: TJ

To get a higher education in the USA, a student can enroll both at a university and at a college where he will receive a bachelor's degree. Colleges differ from universities in that they can only award a bachelor's degree. In municipal colleges, the study period is two years; after completion, the student enters the 3 course immediately at the college and receives a bachelor's degree. Municipal College in the United States - an analogue of secondary special / vocational education.

Libraries are also popular in the States - educational institutions where the emphasis is on the humanities. These schools are as status as the Ivy League.

Educational institutions themselves are divided into two types - private and public, in both cases you will have to pay for the training. For non-US citizens, the cost is higher.

$ 71 - $ 650 - cost of education at Harvard per year.

The cost of studying at public universities is much lower, for example, a year at the University of North Carolina will cost 23 000 dollars.

In colleges, sport is as well developed as in schools. Many sports clubs begin to select newcomers to student teams. Recruiters come to the final games of the season and negotiate with students.

Large student competitions mainly take place inside the NCAA, the national university sports association.

Sports scholarships are of two types:

  • full ride scholarship - covers all expenses for tuition and accommodation;
  • partial scholarship - covers part of the cost of training, but the student pays for accommodation and meals.

24 American University hit the top 50 ranking The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019. The first two places were taken by the British universities - Cambridge and Oxford.

ivy League

Surely, you met this phrase, if you watched American films, TV shows, or read publications about the States.

This is an association of eight private universities located in the northeast of the country. The best and oldest educational institutions in the USA.

The governing body of the association is the council of presidents of these universities.

Infographics: TJ

Frequently, private lectures by politicians, corporate executives, professors, and scholars are given at these universities. Ivy League graduates are presidents (16 of 45, including Donald Trump and Barack Obama), Nobel laureates and artists.

Universities are considered to be equipped with the most advanced equipment and infrastructure.

Student fraternities

In the youth films of the USA, one can meet students who are members of fraternities who have Greek abbreviations. Let's see what it is.

Student male and female organizations - these are associations of students with similar interests. The main goal of joining the fraternity is the opportunity to acquire useful connections.

The fraternity story begins with 1776, when five students decided to establish the Fi Beta Kappa Society, where the Greek letters were chosen to be different.

These are closed clubs, and to get into them, you need to pass some tests (of course, for some there are exceptions):

  • public insults;
  • wearing sexy clothes or special costumes (hot dog, chicken, etc.);
  • get the necessary thing in a short time;
  • alcohol test.

This is done so that the “elder brothers” can understand what the candidate is ready for in order to get into the fraternity. Membership helps to make new friends, not only during college. After graduation, many fraternity members continue to help each other.

"Soon a group of twelve SAE membership applicants was formed among freshmen. They were invited into the house - a huge mansion with a bar, servants, cooks and a pool - and a new life began.

Beginners were given a statute and a textbook on the history of brotherhood - for memorizing. The trainer specially assigned to the group checked his knowledge once a week. Each candidate had to carry a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, a pen, a condom, a chewing gum, a pack of chewing tobacco, four 25-cent coins for machine guns around the clock, all for the needs of older brothers.

So that life does not seem to be honey, a brick was included in the kit, a real brick - with a weight of 4 kg. Wherever the student went - hang out or learn - he had to carry this ammunition with him.
We had to be available 24 hours a day. The exception was emergency family matters. Sometimes one of the brothers called at 3 in the morning and said: “Dan, bring me a pizza with sausage and six cans of beer. I will give the money. When you come, wash my boots at the same time. ” And I was driving. These were the rules. For their violation (I forgot to shake hands, did not have time to pick up the phone, was late or came without a brick, or even just like that) followed the punishment of the whole group - physical, humiliating, but with fiction.
For example, you were placed on a chair with your eyes blindfolded, and bottle shards were poured around the chair. You were asked questions about the brotherhood. If you answered incorrectly, they shouted to you: "Jump!" And I was jumping. And I heard a crunch, and felt something sharp bite into my feet. And then, to the general laughter, it turned out that the glass had been removed, and chips had been poured onto the floor instead. This is how they tested us. Or, for example, they locked the whole company in a closet and did not let them out until everyone had smoked a pack of cigarettes (showing the cigarette butts). Eat 10 raw eggs or 5 onions each - that's pretty easy. A typical punishment was slaps on the ass with a special bat, after which you could not sit for a week. " вrecollections student, passed through the fraternity test.

Life in the house of fraternity - in most cases, the party sponsored by graduates of the fraternity or the rich people, "vip" of this association. Whole buses with beautiful girls who can be members of the female fraternity or girls from the agency come to big parties.

According to surveys, brotherhood membership triples the chances of successful completion of studies, compared to a regular student.

Research Gallup showed that university graduates in fraternities feel generally happier than those who were not in such organizations.

Famous people of the United States, consisting in fraternities:

  • Alexander Bell - the inventor of the phone;
  • Mark Twain is a writer;
  • John D. Rockefeller - the first official dollar billionaire in the history of mankind;
  • Jeff Bezos - head and founder of the Internet company;
  • Fred Smith - Founder, Current Chairman of the Board of Directors and President of FedEx;
  • Neil Armstrong - the first man to set foot on the moon.

US Presidents Fraternities:

  • Tau Kappa Epsilon - Ronald Reagan;
  • Delta Kappa Epsilon - Theodore Roosevelt, George Herbert Walker Bush, George Walker Bush, Gerald Ford, Rutherford Burchard Hayes;
  • Phi Beta Sigma - Bill Clinton;
  • Phi Delta Theta - Benjamin Harrison;
  • Club of Flat Hats - Thomas Jefferson;
  • “Skull and Bones” - George Herbert Walker Bush, George Walker Bush, William Howard Taft.
  • Phi Beta Kappa - Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter.

In his book Inside Greek U, Professor Alan DeSantis notes that only 8,5% of US students are in fraternities and they are candidates for the top of the country.

Among the graduates of the famous fraternity "Phi Delta Theta" were:

  • 34 future state governor;
  • 117 congressmen;
  • 33 senator;
  • 15 people have fallen on the Hollywood Walk of Fame;
  • 1 winner of the Nobel Prize;
  • 9 Pulitzer Prize winners;
  • 9 Emmy Holders;
  • 3 man who took an Oscar;
  • 3 astronaut;
  • 2 Prime Minister of Canada;
  • 3 Supreme Court judges;
  • 1 President and 1 US Vice President.

Recently, the issue of the safe life of students in fraternities has often been raised in society. So, in 2017, three US students died during fraternity parties:

  1. Tim Piazza - 19-year-old student, a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, died after falling from a ladder. Eight members of the fraternity received charges of manslaughter, another ten members received charges of hazing. University of Pennsylvania;
  2. Maxwell Gruver - 18-year-old student, a member of the Delta Theta fraternity, died of acute alcohol intoxication. Death came as a result of brotherly ritual - "Bible study." University of Louisiana;
  3. Andrew Koffi - 20-year-old student, a member of the fraternity Pi Kappa Phi, died of alcohol poisoning during a fraternity party, after drinking a whole bottle of bourbon. University of Florida.

I would like to separately note that each specific school / university may have its own rules, which differ from the general ones.

Read also on ForumDaily:

What you need to know about education in the US

American cities that pay residents for college

How to enroll in a magistracy at an American university: instruction

Educational program education in the USA
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