High Schools in the United States

In most jurisdictions, secondary education in the United States refers to the last six or eight years of statutory formal education. Secondary education is generally split between junior high school or middle school, usually beginning with sixth or seventh grade (at or around age 11 or 12), and high school, beginning with ninth grade (at or around age 14) and progressing to 12th grade (ending at or around age 18). Junior high school refers to grades seven through nine.

There is a wide variance in curriculum for students in the United States. Since the turn of the 20th century, many high schools in the United States have offered a choice of vocational or college prep curriculum. Schools that offer vocational programs include a very high level of technical specialization, e.g., auto mechanics or carpentry, with a half-day instruction/approved work program in senior year as the purpose of the program is to prepare students for gainful employment without a college degree. The level of specialization allowed varies depending on both the state and district the school is located in. The Association for Career and Technical Education is the largest U.S. association dedicated to promoting this type of education.

A class period is the time allotted for one class session. The classes a student signs up for are arranged in a certain order to fit his or her individual schedule and generally do not change for the remainder of the school year (with the exception of semester courses). A period may vary in time, but is usually 30–90 minutes long. Most schools have 7-8 class short (30–45-minute) periods on their daily schedule, although some have an alternating block of 3–4 class periods each day (typically 90 minutes). Many offer the option of including a study hall in a student's schedule.

There is wide variance in the curriculum required each year but many American high schools require that courses in the "core" areas of English, science, social studies, and mathematics be taken by the students every year although other schools merely set the required number of credits and allow the student a great deal of choice as to when the courses will be taken after 10th grade.

The majority of high schools require four English credits to graduate. Typically, all four levels of English classes include both standard and honors options. English III and English IV may feature AP opportunities to earn college credits, as well.

Generally, three science courses are required. Biology, chemistry, and physics are usually offered. Courses such as physical and life science serve as introductory alternatives to those classes. Other science studies include geology, anatomy, astronomy, health science, environmental science, and forensic science.

Education in the United States is provided by both public and private schools. Public education is universally available, with control and funding coming from the state, local, and federal government. Public school curricula, funding, teaching, employment, and other policies are set through locally elected school boards, who have jurisdiction over individual school districts. State governments set educational standards and mandate standardized tests for public school systems.

Private schools are generally free to determine their own curriculum and staffing policies, with voluntary accreditation available through independent regional accreditation authorities. 88% of school-age children attend public schools, 9% attend private schools, and nearly 3% are homeschooled.

Private schools in the United States include parochial schools (affiliated with religious denominations), non-profit independent schools, and for-profit private schools. Private schools charge varying rates depending on geographic location, the school's expenses, and the availability of funding from sources, other than tuition. For example, some churches partially subsidize private schools for their members.

Private schools have various missions: some cater to college-bound students seeking a competitive edge in the college admissions process; others are for gifted students, students with learning disabilities or other special needs, or students with specific religious affiliations. Some cater to families seeking a small school, with a nurturing, supportive environment. Unlike public school systems, private schools have no legal obligation to accept any interested student. Admission to some private schools is often highly selective. Private schools also have the ability to permanently expel persistently unruly students, a disciplinary option not legally available to public school systems.

Private schools offer the advantages of smaller classes, under twenty students in a typical elementary classroom, for example; a higher teacher/student ratio across the school day, greater individualized attention and in the more competitive schools, expert college placement services. Unless specifically designed to do so, private schools usually cannot offer the services required by students with serious or multiple learning, emotional, or behavioral issues. Although reputed to pay lower salaries than public school systems, private schools often attract teachers by offering high-quality professional development opportunities, including tuition grants for advanced degrees. According to elite private schools themselves, this investment in faculty development helps maintain the high quality program that they offer.

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High Schools in the United States per State

The following high schools in the United States are on offer through StudyUnitedStates EU. If you need more information, or would like to apply with any of these schools, please contact StudyUnitedStates EU <- click for e-mail


Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, Ojai, California

Linfield Christian School, Temecula, California

Squaw Valley Academy, Lake Tahoe, California


Marianapolis Preparatory School, Thompson, Connecticut

Woodstock Academy, Woodstock, Connecticut


Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg, Florida


Riverside Military Academy, Gainesville, Georgia


Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Kamuela, Hawaii

              Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Equestrian Program

Mid-Pacific Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii


Calverton School, Huntingtown, Maryland

The John Carroll School, Bel Air, Maryland


John Bapst, Bangor, Maine

Lee Academy, Lee, Maine

Lincoln Academy, Newcastle, Maine

Thornton Academy, Saco, Maine

Washington Academy, East Machias, Maine


The Newman School, Boston, Massachusetts


Clonlara School, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Chaminade College Preparatory School, St. Louis, Missouri

Saint Paul Lutheran High School, Concordia, Missouri

New York

North Country School, Lake Placid, New York

The Storm King School, Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York

Ross School, East Hampton, New York State


Perkiomen School, Pennsburg, pennsylvania

Solebury School, New Hope, Pennsylvania

South Carolina


McCallie School (Boys), Chattaooga, Tennessee


Layton Christian Academy,  Layton, Utah

Wasatch Academy, Mt. Pleasant, Utah


Lyndon Institute, Lyndon Centre, Vermont


North Cedar Academy, Ladysmith, Wisconsin


Journeys School, Jackson, Wyoming