Some Important Details about American Universities and Colleges

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Some Important Details about American Universities and Colleges


Acceptance into the university is based on a written application, submission of a transcript showing all grades from all courses in previously-attended educational institutions, evidence that the student satisfactorily completed all requirements at the previously-attended institution, and sometimes an oral interview at the school which the student desires to attend If the student is entering college he or she must also take a test called the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), which supposedly measures the student's ability to perform in a college setting. Different schools may have different standards of acceptance: some may require excellent grades on the SAT and high grades for the student's previous coursework, while others may have less stringent requirements. Smaller schools usually like to orally interview the student before making a decision to accept him or her. This allows the school to have a close look at each student, his personality, and to make sure that the student's goals will be met by the school.

To graduate from a university requires a student to complete require­ments of the university, to achieve the minimum allowable grade in the required courses, and to spend the minimum time required at the university (or employment). There is wide variation in the requirements depending on which university you look at. In general, universities and colleges require students to fulfill a set of general requirements applicable to all students at the school, as well as fulfilling the specific requirements for their major field of study. For example, at Haverford College they require 32 credits for graduation, 1 credit being awarded for each course taken and passed per semester. So, 4 credits per semester and 2 semesters per year equals 8 credits per year. Four years of college education multiplied by 8 credits per year equals 32 credits, or the amount needed to graduate. However, the Linguistics Department requires 10 credits of linguistics courses in order to be eligible for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics. As a result, it is necessary to fulfill both requirements before being allowed to graduate, i.e. pass 32 credits of courses, 10 of which must be in the Linguistic Department.

In addition, most universities require a minimum grade-point average before the student is allowed to graduate. This means that all of the grades over the entire four years are averaged; if this average is less than the minimum, the student may not graduate. In the end, a diploma is given to every student who graduates, and evidence of this diploma or a complete transcript of grades must be submitted with all applications to graduate school. Students who fail to graduate from undergraduate institutions are, of course, not permitted to enroll in graduate school.


Ex. I. Read the text and answer the following questions:

1. What are the basic aims which underlie the American system of education?

2. What is the attitude of Americans toward the education of their children?

3. What is the generally accepted motto for all spheres of life in the United States which applies to education as well?

4. What are the general divisions in the US schooling system?

5. What is the difference between state and private colleges and universities?

6. How many grades are there in high school?

7. Why may the principle of equal opportunity often remain only an ideal?

8. What stages of education are there in the USA?


Ex. II. Discuss the following points using the information and the vocabulary of the text:

1. Developing one's potential is the leading principle of the American system of education.

2. One of the goals of American education is to impart to an individual the understanding of the role man plays in society.

3. Laying the foundation for the achievement of success in life is also a goal of American education.

4. The motto of equality of opportunity is not always realized in the American system of education.

5. The existence of public and private schools violates the principle of equal opportunity.

6.The idea of equal opportunity is supported by the overwhelming majority of public schools in relation to private schools and also by equal competition in getting jobs.

7. Higher education in the US is not free.

8. The system of universities and colleges is wide and also includes both private colleges and universities.

9. John Dewey introduced an active approach at school emphasizing the importance of teaching thinking processes and skills.

10. American high schools programs list a number of subjects that teach school students practical skills.

Ex. III. Answer the questions using the following phrases:

to be eligible for the Bachelor of Arts degree; to major in a subject; grade-point average; to perform in a college setting; stringent requirements; a complete transcript of grades; to fulfill a set of general requirements; requirements set down by a department.


1. What does "entering" a university involve?

2. What does "graduating" from a university mean?

3. What papers are necessary to enroll in graduate school?





Education for young people has always been a leading social task. In all industrial societies young people from the age of 5 to 16 and sometimes older go to school. A lot of young adults then take jobs, but some go to college and a fewmore take advanced studies.

Education varies from country to country but it has the same economic characteristics in all countries. It improves skills which make people more productive. By means of education people are made stable members of society. Some teachers also do creative research which helps to improve technology. So education creates large economic values varying from technical productivity in factories and offices to progress of knowledge.

Various values of education are of two classes: private and social. Each student gets private benefits when he or she learns new skills which will allow them to get higher pay on the job. Besides, the job will probably be more pleasant and the person will cope with problems of modern life better.

There are also public benefits of education. First, it provides more productive workers for society; economy becomes more efficient and profitable. Without education many people do not cope with difficulties of life and turn to crime or require public support. Second, people understand social life better and they will deal with public problems more intelligently and avoid extremism. Third, greater productivity of population provides more taxes in order to pay for public needs.

The task of economics of education is to evaluate public and private benefits and make decisions how much a government is going to invest in every type of school and how the government is going to do it. As productivity and stability of population is mainly increased at school level, total public subsidies for schools are justified. For education at the college level, however, the public benefits are weaker than private benefits and full public subsidies are considered less justified than at the school level.

Education is being financed by subsidies or scholarships. Which of them are more effective is also a problem studied by economics of education.

Technologies are becoming more complex and demand for education as well as a number of qualified specialists will grow in future. With it, the role of economics of education and the scope of problems studied by it is growing in the years to come.


Ex. Answer the following questions:

1. What are the characteristics of education which are the same in all countries?

2. What is the role of education in social progress?

3. What are the private benefits of education?

4. What are the public benefits of education?

5. What is the task of economics of education?

6. Why are total subsidies for schools justified? What about subsidies for colleges?

7. How is education financed?

8. Is economics of education going to become more important in the near future? Why?




Topical Vocabulary

education— образование, обучение

higher education — высшее образование

self-education —самообразование

to take en­trance exams —сдавать вступительные экзамены

to enter the university — посту­пить в университет

the University of Civil Engineering and Architecture — архитектурно-строительный университет

department (faculty) — факультет

Faculty of Architecture and Design — факультет архитектуры и дизайна

Civil Engineering Faculty — строительный факультет

Faculty of Engineering Systems — факультет инженерных сетей

Highway Engineering Faculty — автодорожный факультет

Faculty of Economics and Management — факультет экономики и управления

to last — продолжаться

complete course of study — полный курс обучения

full-time student — студент дневного отделения

correspondence department — заочное отделение

first-year (second-year, third-year) student — первокурсник (второкурсник, третьекурсник)

to be in one's first (second, third) year — быть на первом (втором, третьем)


undergraduate — студент (последнего курса)

graduate — выпускник

to graduate from the University — окончить университет

high school diploma — диплом о высшем образовании

post-graduate — аспирант

standard of teaching — уровень преподавания

to be well equipped — быть хорошо оборудован­ным

laboratory — лаборатория

classes — занятия

lecture — лекция

to take notes — записывать

to deliver a lecture — читать лекцию

to attend lectures on — посещать лекции по

to miss lectures — пропускать лекции

to be good (poor) at — хорошо (плохо) знать какой-либо предмет

to receive credit — получить зачет

to read up for examinations — готовиться к экзаменам

to take an examination — держать экзамен

to take the finals — сдавать выпускные экзамены

to pass an examination — сдать экзамен

to fail in an examination — не выдержать экзамен

term — семестр

paper — письменная работа

examination-paper — экзаменационная работа

term-paper — курсовая работа

to present a graduation thesis — защищать дипломную работу

excellent mark — отличная оценка

grant (stipend)— стипендия

to get grant — получать стипендию

basic grant — обычная стипендия

supplementary grant — повышенная стипендия

scholarship — именная стипендия

foreign language — иностранный язык

subject — предмет (учебный)

optional subject — факультативный предмет

sciences and humanities — естественные и гуманитарные науки

engineering — технические специальности

time-table — расписание

industrial training — производственная практика

dean — декан

dean’s office — деканат

assembly hall — актовый зал

gym — спортивный зал

hostel — общежитие

to train — подготавливать

specialist — специалист

qualified — квалифицированный

to be active in all spheres of the university life — участвовать в общественной жизни университета

profound knowledge — глубокие знания

to put one’s knowledge into practice — применять знания на практике


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