Study in US
Advantages of high schools in the United States:
Studying in an elite university in the United States for an undergraduate diploma is a common dream for many students. As parents hesitate to send their child in a domestic high school before they apply for an undergraduate program in the United States or directly send them to the destination country, they should learn more about the advantages of studying in a high school in the United States:
- The students are exposed to the American university education earlier and have better chance to be admitted into a world famous school and enjoy world-class educational resources. SAT is one of the criteria for evaluating high school students. It is very convenient for students to take the SAT test and they can also take AP, IB and other exams directly. These are exams that more and more universities refer to when they evaluate whether the applicant has the ability to withstand the pressure of courses of higher degree.
- The learning experience, extracurricular activities and community activities of students during the high school stage in the United States will be preferred factors evaluated by American universities, and their personal statements and recommendation letters will be more credible.
- The students’ comprehensive ability will be enhanced. Their English proficiency will be constantly improved as they are immersed in a pure English culture; their personalized potential will be developed, while at the same time their practice and innovative spirit will be fostered; they will learn to be independent and get prepared for the future long road of studying.
Public and private high schools in the United States
There are public and private high schools in the United States. Public high schools are funded by the government for local students without tuition. Chinese students can only study in a public high school for one year as exchange students.
There are Grade 9 to Grade 12 (equivalent to Junior Three to Senior Three in China) in private high schools in the United States. Private high schools are affiliated to private institutions or religious groups and are financially funded for local or foreign students. Private high schools are fully open to international students without any restriction on the duration of study.
There 2,000 certified private high schools in the United States, and there are famous private schools in every state. In general, private schools deliver a much higher proportion of graduates to famous American universities than public high schools in the United States.
Several criteria to consider when selecting an American high school:
- Boarding or day school
Do not blindly assume that boarding schools are better than day schools. They are different and run neck to neck. Boarding schools are more suitable for children who are independent and well self-managed. Most students of day schools choose to live in host families or with their local relatives as this also helps them with language skills, daily care and safety.
- Blue Ribbon School
Blue Ribbon School is an important basis for measuring the quality of high school education. It is the highest honor that American primary and secondary schools can receive. Only 50 or so private high schools are honored as Blue Ribbon Schools each year and their presidents will be awarded by the President of the United States in Washington DC.
A list of high schools that once got the honor of Blue Ribbon School can be retrieved on the website of the US Department of Education, but no school is awarded the honor every year. The year of last award and the number of awards matter. In addition, other background information of the school is considered, such as the average score of SAT, offers from colleges, and hardware and software facilities.
- Average score of Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)
In theory, the higher the average score of SAT, the better the quality of teaching and the higher the chance of getting offers from top universities. However, the quality of teaching in a school is also reflected in the proportion of international students. If international students, especially Asian students, account for more than 30%, then the SAT average score of the school will be meaningless.
- Number of AP courses
What is AP curriculum: Nearly 3,600 universities in more than 40 countries recognize AP credits as their admission criterion and university credits, including Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College and other world famous universities. The AP courses in American high schools include 22 categories and 37 disciplines that are taught in more than 15,000 high schools in the United States. AP test results adopt the scale from 5 to 1. Generally, three or more points can be exchanged for credits in college, although some prestigious universities may require four or five points. The AP courses that are passed in exam can be discounted to college credits and secure exemption from college courses, enabling students to shorten college credit hours, skip a grade, and even save high tuition.
To a certain extent, the number of AP courses that a school provides speaks for its strength. However, for students with different learning abilities, they should decide the number of AP courses they study based on their ability. If the courses they choose outweigh their ability, they will drain their energy and poor test results will undermine their self-confidence.
- Geological location of the school
More and more Chinese families have relatives as immigrants in the United States. For parents who send their children to high schools in the United States, they are most concerned about the living conditions and security issues, in addition to the academic performance of their child. Either in boarding schools or day schools, problems can arise due to the inability to adapt to the environment, the surrounding people, or the diet. Relatives or friends who have settled down in the United States can be good helpers to rely on. Therefore, whether there are relatives or friends near the school is also an important consideration.
Three types of private schools in the United States: full boarding school, day school, and full-time management school
- The competition for admission in boarding schools is fierce and the matriculate proportion is low due to their small number and high requirements.
- Students of boarding schools are confined to activities and learning on campus.
Top boarding high schools in the United States:
1 Phillips Academy Andover
2 Phillips Exeter Academy
3 Groton School
4 St. Paul’s School
5 Milton Academy
In recent years, the threshold for application has risen sharply in successive years. The data of the US Department of Homeland Security show that 60,815 high school students held F1 or M1 student visas in the United States in November 2015, of which 34,578 were Chinese students. During the two years from October 2013 to 2015, the number of Chinese middle school students in the United States grew from 22,558 to 34,578, with a growth rate of 53%, or 12,020. The record was updated every year.
Although the number of Chinese applicants continues to grow, the actual enrollment of schools does not increase and it even decreases. More than 70% of the schools still enroll 0 to 9 Chinese students. The competition gets more and more intense. For example, the admission officer of The Hill School, which usually enrolled 8 to 10 Chinese students in the past years, said clearly that they would enroll only 4 in the school year of 2017-2018.
As the craze for studying abroad has continued to step up recently, more and more extraordinary students and some less well-performing students join the application; the middle-level schools begin to control the number of Chinese students, which may keeps some children targeted at these schools from the doors of boarding schools, and they may ultimately choose private day schools. The better the schools, the lower proportion of Chinese students they have. The enrollment quota is not much different from those in previous years. The proportion of Chinese students is generally between 4% and 8%.
What is the requirement on TOEFL?
The admission scores are generally higher than the minimum required score (which is just a threshold).The students admitted by the top 10 schools have as high as 111 points in TOEFL. Schools that are ranked among the top admit students whose provide higher average scores of TOEFL. The average TOEFL scores of top 50 schools are basically over 100. According to statistics, the school that admits the highest TOEFL score is Deerfield Academy at 115 points, basically the same as last year.
- There are many day schools to choose from and application is easier;
- Although the students are not confined to school activities only, safety and integration with host family are issues of most concern.
Top 5 day schools in the United States
1 Collegiate School
2 Trinity School
3 Brearley School
4 Saint Ann’s School
5 Chapin School
Day schools that are ranked among the top have application requirements as high as top full boarding schools and their admission requirements are also growing year after year. Among the large number of day schools, their quality is mixed and choosing one requires careful consideration.
Disharmony with the host family is a pain for many parents and their child, because most of the home stay parents are full-time employees who can only take care of the children’s daily diet and have no time to care about their academic enhancement and psychological construction. There was a case when a 16-year-old boy was expelled by his school for buying cigarettes from a black man in the street. Cultural difference can be a serious problem. The American family never spoils the child. As a part of the family, the child must contribute to the family by sharing housework such as gardening and running errant at weekends or during their spare time, and this is not uncommon in American families. However, requiring resident Chinese children to do these things seems to be too demanding and the children may bear grudge against the family until they burst out. As for the diet, there are many types of Western fast food and most of them are cold food that Chinese resident students may find it hard to adapt to. Problems in living can affect academic progress at school.
Students of outstanding day schools are under unified management and are provided with a series of meticulous services including accommodation, tutoring, activity arrangement, application guidance, and contact with parents.
About Rhode Island Association (RIA):
- Better language skills
In RIA, English is a daily communication language and students have more opportunities to converse and communicate in English than they have in a host family.
- Safer measures
There is a strict security system on campus and employees are on duty around the clock to ensure the safety of students.
- Lower risk
Many host families are not ready to receive international students and as a result most of them fail to keep international students for more than two years. As an expert, we have a better understanding of the deeper needs of students.
- More attention on students’ needs
Many host families are unable to fully care about the needs of the students for improvement of language skills, participation in activities, and physical health. At RIA, we give your kids first priority. Our better teacher-student ratio allows us to provide services for students 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
- More freedom to explore
RIA offers students a variety of learning and practice opportunities, such as extracurricular activities, community internship, sports, arts activities, instruction and mentoring, cultural programs and university courses.
- Personalized services tailor-made for international students
RIA selects a variety of facilities and programs for international students to help them with cultural integration and language.
- Better communication with parents
It can be convenient for parents to communicate with host families. The multilingual parental liaisons of RIA will regularly feed student reports in both English and the mother tongue of the student to parents which inform them of the health status, emotional condition, and academic progress of their child.
- More professional learning plan
Every student has his own Now To College Roadmap TM, a step-by-step plan that is develop to make sure that students achieve excellent results and complete rich extracurricular activities necessary for them to be enrolled in the ideal universities. The Dean of Studies meets with students every week to make sure that they do not deviate from their learning plans.
- More positive academic support
Host families are unable to help students with their homework. However, RIA has an academic team, teachers, tutors and counselors who meet with students every day to make sure that they maintain excellent results. Our staffs work with high school teachers in the programs to support and encourage every student.
- More prepared for cultural and social integration
Since they have to adapt to a new culture and language, home stay students tend to fall behind the overall progress of the class at an early stage. To help these students, RIA provides guidance on American culture and classroom integration. This program helps students adapt to the American culture and get prepared for integration into American classrooms.
- More comprehensive transportation services
Host families can not guarantee students to participate in extracurricular activities and cultural activities. However, at RIA, our staffs provide transportation for students the whole day. They can drive students to attend PE classes, music classes, art classes, mentoring projects, community practice and other activities.
- Physical and mental health of students is the top priority
RIA has bilingual nurses and counselors who can help students with health needs without any communication barriers. Many students are too shy to open their mouth or are unable to seek help from their host family in English.
About RIA schools:
- Wheeler school
Label: No. 97# in the United States
Label: “the high school of Brown University”
- Lincoln School
Label: Colorful volunteer experience projects, co-op programs with Brown University, thick artistic atmosphere
- Providence Country Day
Label: business-oriented, a large number of business projects for students, having high art and sports requirements
Local “noble school”, with many children of local doctors and lawyers, beautiful scenery
- Mountain Charles
Label: Blue Ribbon School
Label: boys’ school, Blue Ribbon, “little cradle of Harvard”
- Bayview Academy
Label: girls’ school, Blue Ribbon School, art-oriented
Label: high teaching quality
Label: art school, work collection required
- School: Mosebrown (Full-time Management)
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Features: “high school of Brown University”. 100% admission into universities, offers from Brown University, Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University and so on. High-quality unified accommodation management, extracurricular tutoring, college admission guidance, parents report.
- School: Mountain Charles (Full-time Management)
Location: Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Features: Blue Ribbon School. Blue Ribbon is the highest honor that American primary and secondary schools can receive. Only 50 or so private high schools are honored as Blue Ribbon Schools each year and their presidents will be awarded by the President of the United States in Washington DC. 100% admission into universities, offers from Harvard University, Northeastern University, New York University and so on. High-quality unified accommodation management, extracurricular tutoring, college admission guidance, parents report.
- School: Hendricken (Full-time Management)
Location: Warwick, Rhode Island
Features: boys’ school, Blue Ribbon School (only 50 or so from tens of thousands of private high schools are honored as Blue Ribbon Schools each year), “little cradle of Harvard”. Nearly 10% of graduates are admitted to Harvard University each year. High-quality unified accommodation management, extracurricular tutoring, college admission guidance, parents report.
- School: Lake Mary (Boarding)
Location: Orlando, Florida
Features: “the best leisure city of the United States”, K12 education, boarding, large campus area, excellent hardware facilities. Graduates are admitted into: Princeton University, University of California-Los Angeles, Columbia University, Boston College and so on.
- School name: Rancho Solano (Day School)
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Features: K12 education, 23 IB courses, boarding, best education quality in the state, award winners in basketball and soccer, high SAT score. Graduates are admitted into: Brown University, Cornell University, Northeastern University, University of California-Berkeley, and so on.
- School: Squaw Vally Academy Bay Area (Boarding)
Location: Livermore, California Bay Area
Features: Superior geographical location, 8-10 students per class. There are advanced facilities such as teaching buildings, a natural science laboratory, art classrooms, learning centers and SMART BOARD. The school provides co-op programs of SAT and TOFEL preparatory courses with UC BERKLEY, writing class, and 1-to-1 guidance on personal statement modification. Graduates are admitted into: Stanford University, Boston University, University of California- Berkeley, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and so on.
- School: Hoosac (Full Boarding)
Location: Hoosac, New York
Features: a traditional boarding school with a long history, 1:5 teacher-student ratio, high SAT, diversified activities. Graduates are admitted into: Northeastern University, University of California- Berkeley, Boston College, Purdue University and so on.
- School: Cincinnati Country Day School (Day School)
Features: Blue Ribbon School (only 50 or so from tens of thousands of private high schools are honored as Blue Ribbon Schools each year), No. 1 prominent private school in Cincinnati, teacher-student ratio of 1:8. More than 94% of the teachers hold a master’s degree or higher. The SAT average score is 1874 and ACT, 28. In 2015, 1/5 of graduates (76 persons) got offers from the Ivy League.
- School: Lake Ridge Academy (Day School)
Features: 1. The teacher-student ratio is 1:8 and more than 80% of teaching faculty and staff have a master’s or a doctoral degree; the school has a professional STEAM (STEM + ART) research center, a rocket society instructed by NASA engineers and a professional school television. The average SAT score of the school is 1820 and the school has National Merit Scholars that account for 0.57% of the winners. The university admission rate is 100%. All of the graduates are admitted into four-year college programs and an average of 20% get offers from the Ivy League every year.
- School: The Independent School (day school)
Location: Wichita, Kansas
Features: Blue Ribbon School (only 50 or so from tens of thousands of private high schools are honored as Blue Ribbon Schools each year). More than 15% of the students receive the National Merit scholarship, accounting for 1% of the total winners in the country. It also boasts of the highest percentage of winners for that honor in Kansas in four consecutive years. High SAT scores. 15% of the students are admitted into the Ivy League every year.
Costs (Tuition + Living Expense)
- Full boarding schools: USD 40,000 to USD 70,000 per year
- Day schools: USD 40,000 to USD 70,000 per year
- Full-time management: USD 50,000 to USD 80,000 per year