Recipes insiders: criteria for choosing high school in the US
Having the most advanced education in the world, the United States is a great destination for international students - not only at the university level but in recent years but also expanding to high school. USIS Education interviewed Do Phuong, currently a student at Pierce College Community College (Puyallup, Washington State) to help you have more useful information about studying in high school in the US. In particular, Do Phuong also shared with USIS Education readers the criteria to choose an appropriate high school.
Hi Phuong, you studied in the US during high school. In your opinion, what are the benefits of studying in high school here?
I attended high school at Trinity School at Meadow View (Falls Church, Virginia) before transferring to Pierce College. From personal experience, studying abroad in America as a teenager has helped me grow up a lot and bring many valuable lessons.
Regarding learning, I was much more confident and brave because most of the classes required students to discuss and give opinions continuously. Specifically, for social subjects, teachers will ask you to read homework before each lesson, then participate in discussions, class arguments and homework will be written comments and analyze on the topics in that session. As for science subjects, students are allowed to do many direct experiments, which help to understand the nature of complex problems more easily and clearly. In the Math classroom, teachers often ask a lot of questions for students to increase interactivity and ensure a two-way approach. Studying in school is enough for me to understand the lesson, so after class, I don't need to take any extra classes or tutors. Moreover, if you have difficulty studying or choosing to study at university, the school also has a career department, which advises and helps students solve those questions.
Regarding extracurricular activities at the school, I have more control when choosing to join the clubs I like and proactively propose to the principal to set up my own club.
Last time, I, along with a classmate, suggested that I be allowed to set up an art club. To do well in clubs, you should actively communicate with your siblings first, observe more about how to organize and be boldly committed. In the US, if you're not directly involved in any activity, it's easy to feel isolated or inferior to your friends. Participating in extracurricular activities is an extremely effective way to expand relationships, adapt to a new culture and develop personal capacity.
Is your living and transitioning to university convenient and easy?
In terms of living conditions, the school has a homestay program that helps international students choose American families to live with. I was directly given needs, shared my personalities and criteria, and considered the context in which my family would live. From there, the school will connect families so that they meet their aspirations. Currently, the American family I live with is very kind and friendly. They help and advise themselves from traveling, finding supermarkets, ways of living and integration.
Studying in high school in the US is a great advantage to help me transfer to universities or community colleges here. University admissions officers can easily assess your ability because they understand the subjects you study, the content you study or the effort you need to take in the learning process. Currently, I have transferred and attended Pierce College community college. This is a dual program that helps me transfer from high school to university, that is, I have the opportunity to study the general subjects that American university students are required to study and then will choose to major in university. main school. This not only helps me shorten my time to study at university, but also makes it convenient for me to transfer to other universities. Here, dual learning for 2 years to get 2 degrees at a time is possible.
What criteria did Phuong choose himself from?
I take advantage of personal relationships in the United States as well as research on academic programs, student life and thereby make decisions for myself. Students and parents can find a lot of practical information through niche.com. Normally, the cost of boarding schools in the US is quite expensive and the scholarship is limited, so if you want to find schools with reasonable tuition fees and good quality education, you should look for Catholic schools because they get a lot of funding from religious organizations.
Here is a checklist of the criteria that I have set myself during the search for high school:
Program of study: International Baccalaureate (IB program), number of subjects in Advanced Placement (AP - Advanced Placement), teaching methods, technology application in teaching, extracurricular programs ...
Campus and facilities: campus-wide, equipment for sports, equipment for the arts, security and safety levels.
School location: City or suburbs, convenient transportation or far away?
Enrollment method: admissions records, application deadlines, support from the admissions department, how to visit the school before studying ...
Financing: tuition, extra fees, financial support.
School demographics: boarding school or boarding school, how many people live in boarding school, how many people live in boarding school, coed school for both boys and girls (single sex school for boys or girls) ), the percentage of international students, the number of affiliated classes / faculties ...
Level of religion: how is religion expressed through learning and activities, what negative benefits or impacts have it had on itself, what schools have religious activities been noticeable in the past? ...
Finally, Phuong can share the things to prepare for the US high school profile?
First, you should soon get used to the US visa because this is a very important step to help you live and study legally. The US visa process is quite strict and complex, which requires you to have a lot of guidance, thorough information and early preparation if determined to study. International students attending high school in the US will need an F1 visa if your goal is to live here for more than 1 year. Students studying for 1-year exchange need a J1 visa.
Regarding admission, a set of applications for admission to high school in the US usually includes the following requirements:
Application form (online) and application fee (submitted online)
Transcript (current year and 2 previous years)
Letter of recommendation (from school teacher)
Results of standardized and language tests (SSAT, TOEFL)
Financial proof from family
Evaluation form from parent or guardian
For complete information, you can refer to the Admissions section (Admission) on the high school website that you intend to study in the US.
In addition, you also need to prepare for an interview with a school representative and complete the questionnaire questions that the school asks. To me, the interview questions are like daily conversations but not complicated, such as: where do you know the school from, what is the right place for you, your strengths and weaknesses are what. For the questions on the list, the most ingenious answer is to have a solution for specific situations. And remember to stay in touch via email and skype to keep up to date with school announcements.