Adjusting to American High Schools

If you are an international student coming to the United States to attend high school, there are a few things you need to know in order to adjust.

The educational system is quite different from what you may be used to, and there are some cultural adjustments you will need to make as well.

In this blog post, we will outline what your child can expect in an American high school, as well as some tips on how to adjust to life in an American high school.

Keep in mind that every school is different, so your experience may vary depending on the specific institution you attend.

What to Expect in an American High School

There are many differences between high schools in the United States and those in other countries. Here are some of the things that your child can expect when starting high school in America:

School Systems Vary by State

Depending on what state you live in, the schooling system may be different. For example, some states have a junior year while others do not. In addition, the grading systems also differ, with some using a percentage and others using a letter grade scale.

Be sure to ask your guidance counselor about the specifics of your state’s schooling system so that you can be prepared.

There are Various Types of High Schools

Just as there are various types of elementary and middle schools, there are also different types of high schools. Some common types include public schools, charter schools, private schools, and magnet schools.

Each type of school has its own unique set of rules, regulations, and curriculum, so it is important that you do your research to find the right fit for you.

There is a Lot of Pressure to Succeed

In America, there is a lot of pressure placed on students to succeed in high school. This may be due to the competitive nature of colleges and universities or the desire to have a good job after graduation. Whatever the reason, it is important to remember that everyone learns and progresses at their own pace.

Do not be discouraged if you do not get perfect grades or are not at the top of your class. As long as you are doing your best, that is all that matters.

You Will Have More Responsibility

In addition to having more freedom, American high school students also have more responsibility. For example, you may be responsible for getting yourself to and from school each day or taking care of your own homework and assignments.

While this can be tough at first, it is important to remember that taking responsibility for your own learning will only make you a better student in the long run.

Grades are Important, But Not Everything

While grades are important, they should not be your only focus in high school. In America, high school is also about learning how to be a well-rounded individual and preparing for your future.

Be sure to take advantage of all that your high school has to offer by participating in extracurricular activities, joining clubs, and getting involved in your community.

You Will Experience Some Tough Times

Just as with any other phase in life, high school has its ups and downs. You may experience some tough times during your high school years, but remember that these times will only make you stronger in the end. Lean on your friends and family for support during these difficult times, and always remember that things will eventually get better.

A More Rigorous Curriculum

The American high school curriculum is much more rigorous than in other countries, from more challenging coursework to standardized tests. Be prepared to put in long hours of study and work hard to get good grades. However, remember that all of your hard work will pay off in the end.

Extracurricular Activities Are a Big Part of High School

In America, high school students are encouraged to get involved in extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and community service. These activities not only look great on college applications, but they also help you develop important skills and friendships. Be sure to take advantage of all that your high school has to offer.

A different Grading System

In America, high school students are typically given letter grades (A, B, C, D, and F) on their assignments and tests. These grades are then used to calculate a student’s overall grade point average (GPA). GPA is important for college applications, so be sure to work hard to maintain a good GPA.

You Will Have to Apply to Colleges

After you graduate from high school, you will need to apply to colleges if you wish to continue your education. The application process can be both exciting and daunting, but remember that there are many people who are here to help you along the way. Be sure to start the process early and stay organized throughout.

A Longer School Day

The average high school day in the United States is about 7 hours long, compared to 6 hours in other countries. This may seem like a lot at first, but classes are typically shorter than they are in other countries (45 minutes vs. 50-60 minutes). There is also usually a lunch break in the middle of the day.

Tips to Adjust to an American High School

Adjusting to an American high school can be a difficult task, but there are a few things you can do to make the transition smoother. Here are ten tips to help you adjust:

1. Get to know your classmates and teachers

One of the best ways to transition to an American high school is to get to know your classmates and teachers. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible, and try to sit with different people in class. This will help you feel more comfortable in your new surroundings.

2. Learn about American culture

Before starting school, learning about American culture is a good idea. This will help you understand what you see and hear in your new school. Many resources are available online and in libraries to help you learn about American culture.

3. Take advantage of resources

Most high schools have many resources available to help students succeed. These resources can include tutoring, academic advising, and counseling. If you are struggling in any subject, take advantage of these resources.

4. Get involved in extracurricular activities

Another great way to adjust to American high school is to get involved in extracurricular activities. Many clubs and organizations are available, and participating in these can help you meet new people and learn more about your interests.

5. Be prepared for tests and assignments

In the United States, students are often assessed through tests and assignments. It is important to be prepared for these by studying and doing your homework. If you are unsure about anything, be sure to ask your teacher for help.

6. Be respectful of others

In America, there is a great emphasis on respecting others. This includes using appropriate language, being polite, and listening when others are speaking. If you are not respectful of others, you may find it difficult to make friends and be successful in school.

7. Challenge yourself academically

One of the best things about American high schools is the opportunity to challenge yourself academically. There are many Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses available, and taking these can help you stand out when applying to colleges.

8. Be organized

It is important to be organized in American high schools. This means keeping track of your assignments, class schedule, and extracurricular activities. Many resources are available to help you stay organized, so be sure to take advantage of them.

9. Join clubs and organizations

Joining clubs and organizations is a great way to meet new people and learn more about your interests. There are many different types of clubs available, so there is sure to be one that you will enjoy.

9. Seek help when needed

If you are struggling to adjust to American high school, seek help from your teachers, counselors, or parents. They can provide you with the support and resources you need to succeed.

10. Understand the importance of standardized tests

In the United States, standardized tests are crucial. These tests are used to assess your knowledge and skills, and they can have a significant impact on your future. Be sure to study for these tests and do your best on them.

We hope these tips will help you adjust to American high school. Remember that every school is different, so your experience may vary depending on the specific institution you attend

Final Thoughts

Adjusting to an American high school can be difficult for international students. However, with the right preparation and resources, it is definitely possible.

If you are considering studying in the United States, or if your child is about to start their freshman year of high school here, contact High School of America today.

Our experienced admissions counselors will help you navigate the process and provide all the information you need to make a smooth transition into this new phase of your life.