Education in the United States is mostly public. It is controlled and financed at three levels: Federal, State, and by local authorities. There is a system of public schools. The institutions of higher learning are mainly private, and therefore, they are trying to attract students from all over the world.
The literacy rate in the United States is 99% as of 2008. In 2011, 86% of those aged 25 years and older had secondary education, 30% had a Bachelor’s degree. The main language is English, in addition to Puerto Rico, where the official language is Spanish.
For historical reasons, education was not mentioned in the Constitution, which means that the States have to manage the matter. In the United States there is no strict federal standards for educational curricula.
The duration and the age for starting compulsory education vary from State to State. Children start learning from the age of 5 to 8 and graduate from 18 to 19 of age.
Around the age of 5, American children start going to primary school (elementary school), the zero-grade (kindergarten). The zero-grade is not mandatory in some States. However, almost all American children attend kindergarten. Although kindergarten in German literally means “children’s Garden,” kindergartens exist separately in the United States and literally referred to as preschool.
Students attend elementary school until fifth or sixth grade (depending on the school district), and then student goes to middle school, at the end of the eighth grade. High school refers to classes from ninth to twelfth, so usually the Americans complete their secondary education when they are 18 years old.
Those who have received secondary education may enroll in community college, also called junior college, technical college, or city college. Another possibility is to enroll in colleges or universities, which give, usually for a four-year period, Bachelor’s degree. Having received a Bachelor’s degree, a student can learn on to get a master’s degree (2-3 years) or doctor of philosophy (3 years or more). Some colleges and universities grant the degree of doctor of medicine and doctor of law, for which special training is required and at the undergraduate degree level.
At the largest universities the applicant usually must chose certain faculty, but in most of the universities, it just a University that have to be chosen. Even where you want to go to certain faculty, there are ways to change the faculty until you finally decide what career you want. Although some faculties do not allow to do this, other demand from the student to chose, at the end of the first, and sometimes second year. Sometimes in addition to the major field of study, you can add one or more minor specialties, and sometimes you can choose two or even three main specialties.
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