Higher Education in the United States of America
The programme of studies in the elementary school includes English, Arithmetic, Geography, History of the USA, Natural Sciences and, besides, Physical Training, Singing, Drawing, Wood or Metal Work, etc. Sometimes they learn a foreign language and general history. Beside giving general education some high schools teach subjects useful to those who hope to find jobs in industry and agriculture or who want to enter colleges or universities. After graduating from secondary schools a growing number of Americans go on to higher education.
The students do not take the same courses. During the first two years they follow a basic programme. It means that every student must select at least one course from each of the basic fields of study: English, Natural Sciences, Modern Languages, History or Physical Training. After the first two years every student can select subjects according to his professional interest. The National Government gives no direct financial aid to the institutions of higher education.
Students must pay a tuition fee. This creates a financial hardship for some people. Many students have to work to pay their expenses. The Americans place a high value on education. That’s why Kennedy said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. ” In the United States there are 12 years of mandatory schooling. The first eight are solely referred to by numbers (e. g. 1st grade, 5th grade) so students may be referred to as 1st graders, 5th graders, etc.
Grades 9 through 12 (high school) have alternate names for students, namely freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. A freshman is a first-year student in college, university or high school. A sophomore is a second-year student. A “junior” is a student in the penultimate (usually third) year and a “senior” a student in the last (usually fourth) year of college, university, or high school. A college student who takes more than the normal number of years to graduate is sometimes referred to as a “super senior”.