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Education system in USA

Know all about the education system in the U.S.A.

The educational system in the United States of America (USA) is very different in many ways to the Indian education system. We present to you a detailed guide which will give you’re a brief about this education system and its salient features.

Education System in USA

American students start formal education at the age of 6 when they join the elementary school and graduate in secondary school which continues until the twelfth grade. Secondary school comprises of two sections, the first one is the junior high school and the second one is called high school.  After graduating from this grade the students get a diploma certificate and then move on to a college or university for higher education.

Many students who are going to pursue their higher studies in the US must be surprised to know that the US has no educational system. Unlike board examinations in India, there is no national high school graduation examination. The Federal government can influence education only by the funding it offers, but this is limited. There are, however, state graduation examinations, and students must pass these.

Grades Education system USA:

The grading system in the USA is different from the one used traditionally in Indian universities and hence can be confusing at first.  USA used something called a GPA or grade point average system. As an international student, you will need to submit your academic transcripts as a part of your application process to US universities. Academic transcripts are official copies of the record of your educational qualifications. Bear in mind, the U.S. universities can interpret the G.P.A differently for different students coming from different universities.

Learn more about getting your degree evaluated here

Types of Institutions:

State/Public University

The US comprises of 50 states, each state-run at least one university or colleges for providing quality higher education to students at low rates. These universities are funded by the respective state governments and are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.  The state-run universities are sought after for quality education, academic, and innovation research and excellent scholarship opportunities.

Private university/college

These institutions are run privately and are considered costly as compared to state schools. However, there are some very good quality private universities that feature high on the university rankings worldwide.

Community Colleges

Community colleges offer two-year certification or transferable associate degree. Generally, Community college graduates transfer to universities or four-year colleges to complete their degrees. They can transfer the credits which they have earned in the community college. Community colleges offer ESL or pathway courses or other programs that prepare students for studying university-level courses.

Technology Institutes

These are the institutes that provide four-year courses related to science and technology.


Academic year/Intakes

The Education system in USA has its universities and colleges commence their classes in August/September usually known as the Fall session. This is a very popular intake and generally covers most of the courses offered by the universities. The second intake is usually during January/February, called the Spring intake that goes on till April. Another minor intake offers by few universities is a Summer intake available for limited programs and colleges between May and August.

The duration of each course depends on the university and specialization. Most bachelor’s degrees take four years, master’s take two years and doctoral degrees may take four to seven years.


Teaching Methodology


The educational institutions in the U.S. will have a variety of students coming from different parts of the world, of different ethnic groups and races. This promotes cross-cultural understanding and socializing. Most of the classes have a total intake of about 25 students and this enables the instructor to deliver personalized educational content.

This helps in great faculty and student relationships, academic collaborations and skill development. The teaching methodology is not instructor-led but based more on the concept of research and curiosity. Most of the campuses have excellent infrastructure with world-class libraries and sports facilities for excellent recreation

Professors issue grades/marks for each student enrolled in the course.

Each professor will have a unique set of class participation requirements, but students are expected to participate in class discussions, especially in seminar classes. This is often a very important factor in determining a student’s grade.

A midterm examination is usually given during class time.

Sometimes professors will give surprise or “pop quiz.” This doesn’t count heavily toward the grade but is intended to inspire students to keep up with their assignments and attendance.

A final examination will be held after the final class meeting.


Fee Structure:

The tuition fee structure entirely depends on various factors like the type of education, the nature of the course, the duration of the course and likewise. For a general overview, the undergraduate programs can cost anywhere between 10,000 – 35,000 US $ while the graduate and doctoral programs can cost between 15,000 to 60,000 US$. It is important to note that even though there is a large variation in terms of cost between various universities, the quality of education is not compromised.



Scholarships are awarded to deserving international students purely based on merit. The international students with very strong academic qualifications, good performance in standardized qualification examinations and a healthy mix of extracurricular achievements are likely to get a generous amount of scholarships.

Apart from scholarships, an international student can also reduce the tuition fee expenses by applying for research or teaching assistantship. We recommend applying for these as early as possible because there is a very high level of competition.

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