High School in the United States


Stuck between college and higher education, the High School welcomes children from the 9th to the 12th grade, that is to say from about 14 to 18 years. Your teen is 13 and all his teeth? It is time to enter the jungle of inscriptions, averages and choices of the school in which he will study for 4 years; Here is some information to choose and integrate his future "high school" and become an American high school student.

High School - What is it?

Secondary school, a primary concern

According to the states, the school is compulsory until 16, 17 or 18 and the school determines in which university or college the teenager can continue his studies. The choice and integration of a quality high school remains an important concern for families, as soon as the child sits on the college benches.


The high school period is divided into four years: first the Freshman year (9th grade), then the Sophomore year (10th grade), the Junior year (11th grade) and finally the Senior year (12th Grade). The Lycée usually ends with a Senior Prom, the famous prom. On this occasion, students graduate from high school at a "graduation" ceremony and see their "senior portrait" enthroned in the "yearbook".

A high school, high schools

In the United States, there are different kinds of High Schools, including:

General high school: Traditional high school;

Magnet schools: Public schools that offer specific programs or curricula that are somewhat different and advanced, and whose level is often higher and programs qualified as "excellent". The international schools are often Magnet since they offer a double program (American and another language).

Vocational schools (VoTech): Vocational school where pupils are trained for a particular trade;

Special high school and Alternative high school: Alternative schools to the traditional system offering courses and classes adapted to students with special needs.

Public versus Private - Differences

The price

The first difference, and not the least, lies in the cost. The tuition for a public high school is in principle free while those of a private high school vary from reasonable to ... really exorbitant.

Admission procedures

The public high schools are, in principle, obliged to accept all the children of the district, whereas the private secondary schools accept only students selected after the maintenance and success of tests. Of course, private high schools make sure that parents have the financial capacity to pay the tuition fees of their offspring.

Daily life at school

The public high schools must follow the directives issued by the State and your child is then assured to carry out the American standard program. Conversely, private schools have more freedom and can orient their curriculum to a certain extent according to their specialty (scientific orientation, environmental subjects, or medical)

How to choose the future high school of your teenager?

Here are some info to guide you in your choice:
Find out how many students enter a college or university after studying at the high school you are coveting. This is a good indicator of seriousness, which proves the good "reputation" of the establishment.

Math, but also History, science, English ...

Make sure it offers all compulsory courses in English, Math, History and Science. Attention, some high schools do not offer a PE (Physical Education), whereas these courses are sometimes essential to integrate then the "college" or the university of your choice.

An unusual journey

Check that the school offers Advanced Placement or Honors courses: thanks to these classes, your child can earn credits in different subjects. If the school offers AP classes, it is also one of the guarantees that the school prepares its students rigorously for their future university life.

Help !

Find out how students are helped, whether it is the support they can receive during enrollment, tutoring, coaching for future enrollments or preparing the SAT . Try to have an estimate of the number of hours of homework every week, and if there will be many during the holidays ...

And the interested, it interests him?

Of course, ask your teen what he thinks; He will have more chances to flourish and succeed in a high school where he feels good. Being surrounded by friends is also important, but the choice should not stop at a particular high school because all of his buddies from the philately club have applied for them.

All at school!
Also inquire about the means of transportation that connect you to the facility, if there are buses or school pick-up services available, to avoid back and forth, and let the teen take his or her independence ).
What to choose ?

To make your choice, use the site of the National Center for Education Statistics which lists all schools, libraries and "colleges", public or private:


Rankings of establishments

In the United States, everything is subject to scoring, competition, short in ranking. In association with the American Institutes for Research, USA News conducts an annual ranking of more than 20,000 public institutions throughout the United States. USA News then takes three criteria into account:

The cream of the cream
First, the schools where the students obtained the best results are taken into account, taking into account the students having difficulties in determining whether the school treats all its pupils in the same way.

The End of the End

Once an initial creaming is done, the remaining schools are scored on how they integrate students who qualify as "disadvantaged" and their success rate within the institution.

The icing on the cake

Calculated according to the "college-readiness performance", the question then is whether the "Advanced Placement" or the "International Baccalaureate" are proposed by the High School. This makes it possible to know whether the school is preparing its pupils to integrate a higher education institution.

View rankings on:


Ly-A, Ly-B, Ly-C

Rankings, not rankings, good, not good ... but there is also a certain share of subjective when it comes to choosing his high school. Of course, you have to think with a head start, and already prepare your move according to the university that your child wishes to integrate then. But this is also not a reason to put 4 years of torture to your teenager, which would spoil, in addition to his youth, his chances of integrating a quality university.

A question remains unanswered because the answer seems to depend on the tastes of each one: for a child, is it better to be in the lead in a high school average or in the herd of means in a prestigious high school?


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