American middle schools generally open in late August (or early September) and close in May or June, during which there are three to four weeks of vacation from December to January.
Private high schools VS public high schools
★Visa: Students in private high schools hold F1 visas while students in public high schools hold J1 visa：
Studying period: Exchange students in public schools can study for a year while students in private schools can study till they finish their credits and graduate from the high schools.
Number of students enrolled: 2,000-3,000 in public schools while less than 1,000 in private schools.
Tuition and costs: Public schools waive tuition and have relatively higher entry requirements, which generally include TOEFL and SSAT scores.
Advantages and disadvantages: Supported by financial sources at the back, private schools (with an annual expense of $10,000 to over 40,000) have stronger faculty than public schools. The infrastructure is better with lower student-teacher ratio and stronger interaction between teachers and students, which enhance students’ participation in school activities. Since famous American universities attach greater importance to students’ school activities on top of their academic performances, this paves the way for students’ future application for famous universities. While public high schools waive tuition, they have limiting requirements for applicants. Generally students in public high schools are American local citizens. International students can only study in public high schools as exchanges students for a year, which is not good for the continuity of their education.
★Day school VS boarding school：
Boarding schools: higher entry requirements, generally including TOEFL and SSAT scores. The tuition and costs are around 40,000-50,000.
Day schools: relatively lower expenses comparing to boarding schools. Homestay can help students better immersed into the local life with more enriched life after class.
Students’ characters and degree of dependence should also be considers in choosing day schools or boarding schools.
★Curriculum and standardized examinations：
Elementary curriculum: required.
Honor curriculum: can improve GPA
AP curriculum: can waive college credits. The full score is 5, 4 is generally required and 3 for pass.
ESL curriculum: non-native English courses.
IB curriculum: world curriculum which waives part or all of freshman courses. The full score is 45 and 36 is generally required.
SLEP: education testing service, English proficiency test for entry into American middle schools. The full score is 67 and 45-50 is generally required.
SSAT: Secondary School Admission Test. The percentage is 65%-75%. It refers to the comparison of this score with the students of the same grade in America.
ISEE: similar to SSAT, but with no testing center in the mainland of China.
SAT: American college entrance examination.
The ultimate aim to apply for American high schools is to be admitted to top American universities. Completion of high school education in America will greatly enhanced the probability of acceptance into exceptional universities for the reason that American high school curriculum and extracurricular activities can better meet the entry requirements of American top universities. If student complete high school education in America, most American universities can waive the TOEFL requirement for students who study in America for over three years.