HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



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HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



 

TOPICAL VOCABULARY

 

1. Who is who: applicant/prospective student; freshman; sophomore, junior, senior, undergraduate student; graduate (grad) student; part-time student; .transfer student; night stu­dent; faculty:1 teaching assistant, assistant professor, associate professor, (full) professor; counselor.2

2. Administration: dean, assistant dean, department chair­man; President of the University; academic vice-president; stu­dent government; board of trustees.

3. Structure: college (college of Arts anil Sciences); school (school of Education), evening school;'grad school; summer school;3 college of continuing education;4 department; career development and job placement office.2

4. Academic calendar: fall spring term/semester; fall, winter, spring, summer quarter; school/academic year; exam period/days — reading days/period;5 break/recess; deadline6 (fall term break; whiter recess or winter holidays, summer vaca­tion).

_________

 

1 The entire teaching staff at an educational institution.

2 For detailed information see Appendix (p. 262).

3 Classes taken in summer (during vacation time) to earn additional credits or to improve one's proficiency.

4 In-service training, updating one's qualification.

5 One or more days to read up for an examination.

6 The last date for a retake.

 

5. Academic programs:course (a one / three credit course); to take a course, to give a lecture; pass-fail course;1 elective, a major/to major (what's your major?); a minor (second in importance); discussion session; seminars; a more academic class, usually with grad students; a student-teacher.

6. Grades: to get/to give a grade; pass-fail grading (e. g.: to take grammar pass-fail); grades A, B, C, D, E; A-student; to graduate with straight A; a credit, to earn a credit; education record.2

7. Tests: quiz; to take/to give an exam; to retake an exam (a retake); to flunk a course; to flunk smb; to drop out/to with­draw; a pass-fail test; multiple choice test; essay test; SAT, PSAT (preliminary SAT) ACT; GPA.3

8. Red Tape: to register (academically and financially); to enroll for admission; to interview; to sign up for a course; to select classes/courses; to drop a course, to add a course,4 a student I.D.,5 library card; transcript; degrees: B.A., M.A., Ph.D.; to confer a degree; to confer tenure, thesis, paper, dissertation.

9. Financing:full-time fees; part-time fees; graiits; student financial aid; to apply for financial aid; to be eligible for finan­cial assistance; scholarship; academic fees; housing fees; a col­lege work-study job.

 

Higher Education

 

Out of more than three million students who graduate from high school each year, about one million go on for higher edu­cation. A college at a leading university might receive applica­tions from two percent of these high school graduates, and then accept only one out of every ten who apply. Successful applicants at such colleges are usually chosen on the basis of a) their high school records; b) recommendations from their

_________

 

1A course where you don't take an examination, but a pass-fail test (зачёт).

2 Information on a student's attendance, enrollment status, degrees con­ferred and dates, honours and awards; college, class, major field of study; ad­dress, telephone number.

3 Grade Point Average — a grade allowing to continue in school and to graduate.

4 To take up an additional course for personal interest, not for a credit and to pay for it additionally, cf. факультатив

5 I. D. (Identification Document) — cf. студенческий билет

 

 

high school teachers; c) their scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs).

The system of higher education in the United States com­prises three categories Of institutions: 1) the university, which may contain a) several colleges for undergraduate students seeking a bachelor's (four-year) degree and b) one or more graduate schools for those continuing in specialized studies beyond the bachelor's degree to obtain a master's or a doctoral degree, 2) the technical training institutions at which high school graduates may take courses ranging from six months to four years in duration and learn a wide variety of technical skills, from hair styling through business accounting to com­puter programming; and 3) the two-year, or community col­lege, from which students may enter many professions or may transfer to four-year colleges.

Any of these institutions, in any category, might be either public or private, depending on the source of its funding. Some universities and colleges have, over time, gained reputa­tions for offering particularly challenging courses and for pro­viding their students with a higher quality of education. The factors determining whether an institution is one of the best or one of the lower prestige are quality of the teaching faculty; quality of research, facilities; amount of funding available for libraries, special programs, etc.; and the competence and num­ber of applicants for admission, i. e. how selective the institu­tion can be in choosing its students.

The most selective are the old private north-eastern univer­sities, commonly known as the Ivy League, include Harvard Radcliffe, (Cambridge, Mass., in the urban area of Boston), Yale University (New Haven, Conn. between Boston and New York), Columbia College (New York), Princeton University (New Jersey), Brown University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania. With their traditions and long established reputations they occupy a position in Ameri­can university life rather like Oxford and Cambridge in Eng­land, particularly Harvard and Yale. The Ivy League Universi­ties are famous for their graduate schools, which have become intellectual elite centers.

In defence of using the examinations as criteria for admis­sion, administrators say that the SATs provide a fair way for deciding whom to admit when they have ten or twelve appli­cants for every first-year student seat.

 

 

In addition, to learning about a college/university's entrance requirements and the fees, Americans must also know the fol­lowing:

Professional degrees such as a Bachelor of Law (LL.A.) or a Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) take additional three years of study and require first a B.A. or B.S. to be earned by a student.

Graduate schools in America award Master's and Doctor's degrees in both the arts and sciences. Tuition for these programs is high. The courses for most graduate degrees can be completed in two or four years. A thesis is required for a Master's degree; a Doctor's degree requires a minimum of two years of course work beyond the Master's degree level, success in a qualifying examination, proficiency in one or two foreign languages and/or in a research tool (such as statistics) and completion of a doctoral dissertation.

The number of credits awarded for each course relates to the number of hours of work involved. At the undergraduate level a student generally takes about five three-hour-a week courses every semester. (Semesters usually run from September to early January and late January to late May.) Credits are earned by attending lectures (or lab classes) and by successful­ly completing assignments and examinations. One credit usual­ly equals one hour of class per week in a single course. A three-credit course in Linguistics, for example, could involve one hour of lectures plus two hours of seminars every week. Most students complete 10 courses per an academic year and it usually takes them four years to complete a bachelor's degree requirement of about 40 three-hour courses or 120 credits.

In the American higher education system credits for the academic work are transferable among universities. A student can accumulate credits at one university, transfer them to a second and ultimately receive a degree from there or a third university.

1. As you read the text a) look for the answers to the questions:

 

1. What are the admission requirements to the colleges and universities? 2. What are the three types of schools in higher education? 3. What degrees are offered by schools of higher learning in the USA? What are the requirements for each of these degrees? 4. What are the peculiarities of the curricula offered by

 

 

a college or a university? 5. What is a credit in the US system of higher education? How many credits must an undergraduate student earn to receive a bachelor's degree? How can they be earned?

 

b) Find in the text the factors which determine the choice by in individual of this or that college or university.

 

c) Summarize the text in three paragraphs.

 

2. Use the topical vocabulary and the material of the Appendix (p. 262) in answering the following questions:

 

1. What steps do students have to take to enroll in acollege/ university for admission? Speak about the exams they take — PSAT, SAT, ACT. 2. What financial assistance are applicants eligible for? What is college scholarship, grants, loan? Explain and bring out the essence of student financial aid. 3. Speak about the academic calendar of a university. How does an academic year differ from the one in Russia? 4. How many credit hours does a student need to graduate? What type auricular courses and how many does a student have to take to earn a degree? 5. What is a GPA (grade point average) ? 6. What is there to say about a college faculty? What is a tenure? 7. What is the role of a student's counsellor? Specify the function of career develop­ment and job placement within a university. 8. Should there be an age limit for university full-time students? What are your attitudes to mature students? 9. What are the sources of funding for universities and colleges (both public and private)? 10. What is an undergraduate student ? A graduate student ?

 

3. a) Study the following and extract the necessary information:

 



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