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USAUSA

Official Name:United States of AmericaPopulation:309 million people
Capital:WashingtonState language:English
Form of Government:Federative RepublicAdministrative division:USA consists of 50 states and 1 federal district (Columbia)
International phone code:1Time difference with Moscow:- 8-13 hours
Monetary unit:USA Dollar (USD)Rate:1 USD = 59 RUR

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

USA

INFORMATION ABOUT USA AND AMERICAN EDUCATION SYSTEM

General Information about the country.

A country in North America. USA ranked fourth in the world in area and third largest by population (309 mln. people). The capital is the city of Washington. The United States border to the north by Canada, to the south by Mexico, and also has a marine border with Russia. USA washed by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean from the east. Administratively the country is divided into 50 states and the District of Columbia; a number of island territories are also subordinate to the United States. Currently, the United States has the largest economy in the world, including the largest Navy, has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and also is a founding member of NATO. The U. S. has the second cumulative power of the nuclear potential on the Earth. Official language: English. But legally there is no official language. The United States is a presidential republic.

Higher education in the USA.

Education in the U. S. mostly state controlled and funded at three levels: federal government, state and local authorities. Higher education is mainly private. The main language of education is English, except for Puerto Rico, where the official language is Spanish. For historical reasons, education is not mentioned in the Constitution. In the U. S. there are no strict federal standards for schools. Private organizations give accreditation to the universities in each state. Usually students can get the Bachelor degree in four years. After getting a Bachelor degree student can study further to get Masters Degree (2-3 years) or Doctoral degree (3 years or more). Some specially accredited colleges and faculties can give the degrees of doctor of medicine and doctors of law, for which special training and Bachelor Degree is required.

USA higher education system is considered to be one of the best in the world. Usually American students study for four years at colleges or universities. In 2009 there were 4352 institutions in the USA. In 2008 36% of students studied for four years at colleges and universities and 57% - for six years.

In 2001 there were 17, 5 million students in the USA. Among them there were 515000 foreign students and 60% of them were from Asia. In recent years, education in high schools, both private and public, is becoming more expensive. The fee for a year of training is from 5000 USD at State University to 40000 USD in Harvard and, while poor students are given a generous scholarship, it’s often not enough for students from middle class, whose family lost most of its revenue.

In American colloquial all high schools are usually referred to colleges, even if they are not colleges but universities.

U.S. universities can be divided into three types, which tend to differ greatly from each other mainly by the number of students and the atmosphere.

US Colleges. One of the main distinguishing features - the presence or absence of research programs and graduate programs, which distinguishes the college from the university. College is an institution of higher education, which focuses mainly on training students, and scientific work remains in the background. An overwhelming number of four-year colleges are small (less than 2000 students) and private, although in recent years State Colleges were begin to emerge, created for talented students of the state. Many small colleges are religious and sometimes it called the "Bible College". Colleges with a humanitarian slant are often called "Colleges of Liberal Arts". Best liberal arts colleges like Amherst, Williams and Swarthmore are comparable in prestige to the Ivy League universities, but because of they are much smaller; they are less known, although the quality of education there is often better.

State Universities in the USA. Universities are divided into two types: private universities and state universities, funded by the authorities of specific States. State universities are often very large, and inferior to the prestige of the private. Their main goal is to teach students from their own state, so for students from other states the competition and tuition fees are usually higher. In many state universities education suffers because of large classes, little attention of teachers to students and the bureaucracy. Nevertheless, the students, even from other states and countries are going in the best state universities such as University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan and University of Virginia.

Private Universities in the USA. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT are among the most prominent Private American universities. Most of the private universities are average, although there are very small (for example, the California Institute of Technology or Kendall College) and very large (University of Southern California).

Entering the US University. Community colleges are obliged by law to provide education to any resident of the area in which they are located, but admission to the U.S. four-year colleges - often long and complex process. Application for admission is a long questionnaire, which student has to fill not only with his grades in school and on standardized tests, but also his interests, achievements and awards outside the school curriculum, as well as one or more essays on given topics. In addition, the student must submit recommendations from teachers and, in someuniversities, to pass an interview with alumnus - Volunteer.

Since the standards in different schools are very different, the marks usually say little about the preparedness of students, so they complement the results of standardized tests. Normally, applicants must pass one of two common exams - SAT Reasoning Test or ACT, and in some cases - one or more SAT Subject Tests, which test knowledge in certain subjects.

Many large US universities are coming almost exclusively assessed by marks and exam results. However, smaller institutions often pay attention to the extracurricular achievements of applicants: in sports, arts, social work, and take those who took the initiative, and particularly those who, they believe, add brightness and diversity in the life of the university. In this case, not only the level but also the area of achievement is considered: an athlete who participates in sport, in which the lack of participants, or a musician, playing the right instrument, such as bassoon, can be selected, even if his other abilities are not too impressive.

Teachers' recommendations are very important because they help to judge the talent and diligence, and other qualities of the student. Essays help to select the most original and creative students, and interviews are often shown as the nature of student suited to the nature of the university. Thus, each element of the application plays a role in the drafting of the concept of the incoming. The significance of the role of this concept mainly depends on the size of the university.

Because of the unpredictability of this process, many students arrive at several universities, sometimes up to ten, including one in which they almost certainly will be accepted. To reduce the number of shares or network forms that students need to fill, many universities are taking a standard application (Common Application).

Features of training. In the largest US universities applicant must normally reach a specific department, but in most of the universities, he entered the university in general. Even where there is need to come to the faculty, there are ways to move from faculty to faculty and may have the status of "undecided", even though the way to some departments becomes almost or completely closed. In other institutions the student must decide what to specialize in at the end of the first or sometimes the second year. Sometimes, in addition to the major field of study (major) student can add one or more additional (minor) skills, and sometimes he can choose two or even three major specialties.

Each course provides a certain number of credits (points), which correspond to a certain number of hours per week on this course. The student can choose his courses freely, but he must earn more than the minimum and less than the maximum credit and meet the requirements of the university in his specialty or specialties. Requirements may be specific ("vector analysis") or general ("nine credits of Arts") and can be made at any time before graduation.

Estimates in US universities are set by semesters or less at term. They depend mainly on the examination in the middle of  the semester or trimester (midterms) and exams at the end of the academic year (finals). Homework, projects, presentations and abstracts can also be counted.

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