Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Look At The Characteristics of the U.S. Higher Education System

Looking to pursue your higher education abroad? Well, what better place than U.S. The U.S. education system is the one of the finest. In this post I shall discuss more about the U.S. education system.
First we shall take a look at the various types of colleges available here-

1. State college or university
A state school is maintained and run by a state/local government. Each of the fifty American states has at least one state university and probably numerous state colleges for example, Washington State University and the University of Michigan.
2. Private college or university
These are privately operated as opposed to being run by the government. Tuition, of course, will be higher than the state colleges. Frequently, they are smaller in size when compared with state schools.

3. Community college
These are two-year colleges which award an associate degree (transferable), and certifications too. There are several kinds of associate degrees, but the distinguishing factor is whether or not the degree is transferable. Generally, there are two prime degree tracks: one for academic transfer (associate of arts or associate of science) and another arranges students to enter the job market promptly (associate of applied science degree and certificates of completion).
Community college grads mostly transfer to 4 year colleges to complete their program. As they can transfer the earned credits while attending community college, they can complete their bachelor’s degree program in 2 or more years. Others also offer intensive English language programs (ESL), which will prepare students for university-level courses. If you don’t have plans to study past associate’s degree, you should ensure whether it will make you eligible for job in your country.

4. Institute of technology
An institute of technology is a school that offers no less than 4 years of study in science and technology. Some may have graduate programs, while others suggest short-term courses.
Now the dynamic classroom environment will be quite different to what you are accustomed to. Classes can be large lectures with around hundred students to smaller classes and discussion classes (seminars) with handful of students. You are expected to share your thoughts, put forth arguments, contribute to class discussions and give presentations.
Professors usually assign textbook and erstwhile readings every week and you have to keep up with the required readings and homework to participate in class debates and comprehend the lectures. Certain programs may also need you to spend time in the labs. Lecturers award grades to each student. Your grades are typically based upon:

  • Class discussions, especially the seminars
  • Midterm examination
  • One or more research/term papers, or lab reports have to be submitted for assessment.
  • Possible short exams or quizzes like “pop quiz.” They may not be counted heavily for the grade, but is anticipated to motivate students
  • A final examination.
Now to discuss Credit System; each course has a specific number of credits/credit hours. It is roughly the same as the time you spend in class for that program each week. A course is naturally of 3- 5 credits. A full-time program is 12 - 15 credit hours with four or five courses per term and a specific number of credits have to be satisfied for graduation. Overseas students have to register in a full-time program in every term.

All in all, it will be an exciting endeavour for you.

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