If you are from the US, reply to this question below please! <3

I’m making a story that is kind of American-based but how can I make one if I’m not educated about America? :joy:

So how do schools, colleges and universities work?
Tell me any information that you think is important for me to know.

Please and thank you! :blush:



There are a lot of things that go into the makeup of a school system in America. I suppose I could list off some random facts about the school system.

  1. Up until college/university … the taxpayers contributions help fund the school system. Everything from books, supplies, computers, and teaching staff (as well as school nurses, etc.) gets paid through taxpayers. (How the funds get allocated is on another level, hashed over by the government, most likely).

  2. When you reach college, you’re kinda on your own :sweat_smile:. What that means is, that now you (the student) has to pay with your own money. Some people take various routes to get to college:
    A. Take out student loans :confounded: - which usually results in a lifetime of debt.
    B. Be fortunate enough to receive a scholarship (academic or sports) and end up with a free ride (sometimes only partially).
    C. Be awarded some type of grant that will provide some, not all, paid expenses for tuition, books, and housing.
    D. Some type of work program, where you can work - and they will take a portion of your earnings and apply it to tuition.
    E. Or if you’re really fortunate: your parents can pay for all of your expenses.
    F. Sometimes, it’s a combination of all of these.

Once you hit college/university: they treat you like you’re an adult. They don’t remind you to get your assignments done. And if you fall behind on your grades, they will put you on academic probation. They give you a chance to fix whatever is causing you to not get good grades. If you continue to fall behind, they remove you from the school, and if you took out loans, you would still have to pay the loans back (with interest).

Some colleges and universities operate on either a quarterly (every 3 months) schedule, while some operate on a semester system (every 6 months).

Your schedule can vary depending on when you schedule your classes. You may have some classes in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays - while night classes on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.

Those are about some basic stuff, but of course there’s more. The more comes from your own college experience.

Hope this helped.



So most Americans start school at ages 4-5 in preschool, then the next year is kindergarten. After that elementary school is 1st grade through 5th grade. Those kids are all in an elementary school in their own building. Then middle school is 6th through 8th grade, most of the time they have their own building too. Then high school is 9th through 12th grade but they all have their own names. Those same names are used for college too.

  • Freshman year-- 9th grade/1st year of college

  • Sophomore year-- 10th grade/2nd year of college

  • Junior year-- 11th grade/3rd year of college

  • Senior year-- 12th grade/4th year of college

So for an example an American would say they are a Senior or whatever in high school or college.
All colleges are college, but some are only community colleges which only offer two-year degrees, (associate’s degree) while others are universities which offer four-year degrees (bachelor’s degree)

Most high schools are free, but there are private schools with tuition, mostly in bigger cities. Going to school until you’re 18 is required by law and most people to go their diplomas or GED’s (general education degree). College costs a lot of money pretty much no matter where you go, but most community colleges are a bit cheaper. College books also cost a lot to whereas they’re free all throughout elementary, middle, and high school. But you can get outside and university scholarships to help pay. Hope this helps!


There’s a lot of similar threads about this on here…
Such as:

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Ahh, thank you SO MUCH!

So you can live outside the campus as well, right?

Sorry if these are stupid questions. I’m not educated THAT much on universities and colleges since I’m in year 10. :sob::heartpulse:

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Hey, girlie! You’re completely fine! Your questions are not stupid :sparkling_heart::purple_heart:

So yeah, you can choose to live off campus (very much cheaper!! :grin:). For myself, I lived on campus the whole time … I had so much fun, that I wanted to be close to the campus 24/7 (and the parties) :joy:

The first two years, I had to pay for housing. Third, fourth and fifth years (I stayed an extra year to get minor degree as well) I became an RA (Resident Advisor) and that meant I got free room and board.

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Oh my goshhh! That seems so fun, you’re so lucky!! Last question, (Hopefully :joy:) how many years would you approximately have to be in college for if you wanted to do music, because my episode story is about a girl who wants to become a singer but more comes to it. I can’t be asked to explain because I’d be going on forever!!

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Thank you! <3

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Girl!! It was a blast! Best time of my life! :smiley::sparkling_heart::purple_heart:

This may be a little speculation on my part, but at the same time, I’m kind of sure about it: I would say it would take your character about 4 years to get, most likely a B.A. (Bachelors of Arts) degree in Music. If your character wanted to get a second major degree (for example, BA in music AND BA in History) - that would be about 6 years.

If they wanted to get a BA in music AND a MINOR degree in Theatre Arts (for example), that would probably be about 5 years.


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Thank you so much for your help!! :heartbeat: :revolving_hearts:

Okay, I promise this is the LAST question. So if my character wants to do singing, would she have to take the Theatre Arts course? I don’t really understand the difference between Bachelors of Arts degree and Theatre Arts or if they are the same thing. :confused: :heartbeat:

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Hey, girlie! No worries! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask :sparkling_heart::purple_heart:

So Theater Arts would be a field of study … think of fields of study like English, Literature, Medicine, or Law. That’s the field you want to be in but going for a degree is what you need to do be recognized as competent in that field.

The degrees that anyone can go for:

  1. BA (Bachelors of Arts): These degrees are given to people whose fields of study are in *some area that is considered artistic. That could be Theater Arts, Art, Music, English, Literature, Communication, Journalism, Law.

  2. BS (Bachelor of Science): These degrees are given to people whose fields of study are in *some area that is considered scientific. This could be Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Astronomy, Medicine, Politics, Zoology, Marine Biology, Veterinarian medicine.

You can have a lot of fun with shaping your character’s path in college. You can even apply this to your other characters, as well. So it sounds like your character would be on a track of 4 years in college and she would be going for the Bachelors of Arts degree in the field of Music.

As she approaches graduation, she may want to want to be accepted in a higher level of skill type program (I think the most well-known one is Juliard) and there she could get hired by the “troop” and be able to tour with them as they put on performances around the country. This may apply to someone in the field of music. I know for a fact, this applies to dancers :women_with_bunny_ears:

You can always do an internet search on Juliard, to see who they accept into their program and what fields of study they accept.


And if you have more questions, feel free to ask. :sparkling_heart::purple_heart:

You don’t know how grateful I am right now. :revolving_hearts: Thank you so so much for your information. Not even a thank you will explain how much I appreciate you right now!!! I hope you continue to succeed in life girl! God bless! :blush: :sparkling_heart: :gift_heart:

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Yay!! I’m glad this was helpful :heart_eyes::raised_hands:t5::sparkling_heart::purple_heart:

Thank you so much, love!! Let me know when you publish your story, I’d love to check it out! :sparkling_heart::purple_heart:

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Well for one thing, the public schools generally don’t have a required uniform for students to wear. Schools that do are usually private schools. These are typically elementary, middle school, and high school. Same applies to colleges. Military schools are a different matter. Schools that specialize in middle/high school education have JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps) programs run by a specific branch of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. Colleges can run an ROTC program where you will be commissioned into the military as an officer upon graduation. These of course look at your academic record in order to accept you. When it comes to academies like: West Point, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, you need to be nominated by your representative in our Congress.

It’s complicated, I know :man_shrugging:

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Correction preschool starts at age 3

SOME information about public high school (keep in mind that this information may change based on what school you’re in):

What grade does it start?

High school doesn’t always start in 9th grade but it usually does. In my district, it doesn’t. In my district, we still consider 9th grade high schoolers so they’re a little involved in our school but they’re not in the high school. In my district, they’re in the middle school building but they will take the bus to our school when there’s an assembly or when they’re involved in a sport. However, when writing a story about high school, you’ll want to have the 9th graders in the high school building because that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Vaping & hall monitors

Some students vape in the bathroom and hall monitors will randomly enter the bathroom to make sure you aren’t doing that. Hall monitors are too into their job. They literally think they of themselves as cops. A hall monitor has demanded that a girl student show that she has no vape in her bra even though the hall monitor had no reason to suspect that the girl was vaping as she didn’t even have a vape out nor did she act suspicious (the girl didn’t even have a vape). A boy student has mentioned that an old male hall monitor followed him into the boy’s bathroom and WATCHED the boy pee. When the boy very loudly said that the old hall monitor is weird, the teacher yelled at him for disrespecting a staff member. Hall monitors also make sure you aren’t fooling around in the halls when you’re supposed to be in class.

Dress code

Girls can’t show their shoulders in school since the school thinks that showing your shoulders would be a distraction to boys but we all know it’s because of the male teachers or other male staff members. Your shorts are not allowed to be too short. You’re not allowed to wear mesh clothing. You can’t have your hood up but you can wear a hat. You can’t wear a long coat during class but you can wear a short coat during class.


Sophomores (10th grade), juniors (11th grade), and seniors (12th grade) will all make fun of the freshmen (9th grade) if the freshmen give them a reason to. I have heard a freshman say that they’re in love with trees so that’s something that they would make fun of them for. Freshmen tend to be the most childish group of all in high school although you will obviously find childish people in every group.


If you walk slow in the hall, people will step on the back of your shoe on purpose. You’re supposed to walk on the right side of the hall but some people don’t follow that unwritten rule. Some people will randomly stop right in front of you in the hall so you have to walk around them. I have to do zigzag walks everyday because of that. Some people will randomly stop right in front of you only to turn around which is either because they don’t know where they’re going or they forgot what hour it was for a moment.

Hours / classes

In high school, you have 6 hours (6 different classes). You have 6 classes during the first semester of school and 6 classes during the second semester of school. However, some of your classes may change as some classes are only one semester long. Even if you take a two semester long class, you may have to have it during a different hour (or with a different teacher or both) then you had the other semester. Some things you might hear a student say: “I should get to my 4th hour now but I’ll see ya later” or “I have to get to my English class but I’ll see ya later.”

Graduation requirements

English - You are forced to take English class in every grade (9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th). Math - In 9th grade, you have to take Algebra 1. In 10th grade, you have to take Geometry. In 11th grade, if you had a C or higher in your Algebra 1 class, you would be placed into “Algebra 2 with trig.” In 11th grade, if you had a grade lower than a C in your Algebra 1 class, you would be placed into Algebra 2. In 12th grade, you can either take a math class of your choosing (like calculus) or you can take a math-related class that adds up to one school year such as forensic science and web design. Forensic science is only for one semester and web design is only for one semester which if taken together adds up to two semesters (which is a school year). Science - In 9th grade, you must take “investigations of Chemistry and investigations of Physics” which is a two semester long class. In 10th grade, you have to take biology. However, I have seen a senior within biology class because they kept failing the class. Most of the class is 10th grade though. In 11th or 12th grade (you get to pick which grade but most people take this in 11th grade), you must pick chemistry or physics. Chemistry is easier and more interesting though. History - In 9th grade, you have to take world history class. In 10th grade, you have to take economics during one semester and government during the other semester. In 11th grade, you have to take US history. In 12th grade, you DON’T have any history class (yay). PE / Health - You have to take 1 semester of PE during any grade of your choosing. Although, if you have a cool counselor like I do, you don’t have to take PE (I got out of it even though I have no physical issues and I never said I did). You have to take 1 semester of health class during 9th grade. During health class, we do meditation very often. World language - You have to take 2 years of either Spanish, German, or French. However, if you pick one language for one year and pick a different language for another year, it doesn’t count. For example, if you pick Spanish for one year and then take German the next year, it wouldn’t count towards your graduation requirement. If you pick Spanish for one year, you must take it the next. You can still take more than one language class but you have to take 2 years of the same language. Art - You must take one year of any art class of your choosing. While any grade may take art, you’ll find that there’s more juniors and seniors in it. Almost forgot to mention that if you don’t want to take an art class, you can take choir or band instead.

English class titles

English class in 9th grade is called Freshmen English, English class in 10th grade is called Sophomore English, English class in 11th grade is called Junior English, and English class in 12th grade is called Senior English. Because of that, everyone in your English class will be in the same grade as you. Nobody is in a different grade than you in your English class. It’s the only class in which everyone will be in the same grade as you (because if someone younger than you is SUPER SMART, they can end up being in your math class even though most of your math class is your grade). If it’s the first semester of school, your English class title will have the letter A at the end of it. If it’s the second semester of school, your English class title will have the letter B at the end of it. Ex: Senior English A is during the first semester and Senior English B is during the second semester.

What are electives?

Electives are generally classes that aren’t relating to the graduation requirement classes. However, if it’s PE or art class, it is both a graduation requirement class and an elective. So your English, math, history, and main science classes aren’t electives. Some examples of electives: woodshop, forensic science, dental class, cosmetology, zoology, robotics, welding, computer science, car repair, furniture building, nursing, web design, and graphic design.

School pictures & schedules

A few weeks before school starts, you’re supposed to walk into the school to take your school picture, receive your class schedule, and receive your very own personal Chromebook that you’ll have to return at the end of the school year.

How do you know what lunch you have?

There’s 3 different lunches which are all based on who your 4th hour teacher is. If you have 1st lunch, you have to go to the lunch room immediately after your 3rd hour ends. If you have 2nd lunch, you won’t go to the lunch room until the middle of your 4th hour. If you have 3rd lunch, you won’t go to the lunch room towards the end of 4th hour. That means that it is possible that your friends might not have the same lunch as you so you might have to sit next to some random people.


I’ll be honest, in my high school, we don’t really use our lockers. We are allowed to bring our backpacks to class with us as long as it is to the side of your desk and isn’t in the way of where someone may be walking. Since we’re allowed to, everyone brings their backpacks to their class. Athletes use their lockers the most. A time in which some people will use their lockers is when they have two pairs of shoes or when they need to put their coat away. Some students will decorate the inside of their locker. However, not everyone does that as we don’t even use our lockers that much. I for one have never used my locker even though I’m now in my last year of high school. I haven’t even bothered to find out where my locker is because I don’t need it. You can tell what locker belongs to an athlete because on the outside of the locker, it will say so. It’ll have their name and sport number on it but not directly on the locker obviously. It’s a piece of paper attached to the locker.

Can you have snacks or drinks in class?

You may bring a water bottle to any class and drink it in any class. Most teachers could care less if you bring a snack into class. However, some teachers are very strict about having no snacks in their class. On the first day of school, your teachers will tell you if they allow you to have snacks in their class or not. Some teachers don’t want you to bring a colored drink to class but most teachers allow you to bring any drink into class. If the teacher has an allergy to something, they’ll put up a sign and will completely ban anything with their allergy from entering their class.

Titles for 2 semester long classes

If a class is 2 semesters long, you will find that it will say “* class name * A” during the first semester and “* class name * B” during the second semester.

Please feel free to ask me any questions. I can answer any of them especially since I’m a senior (last year of high school). Oh! And I almost forgot to mention that there’s one police officer within a high school. As for hall monitors, there’s usually about 4 or 5. If you’d like me to create a fake high school class schedule for your characters so it’ll be easier on you, let me know.


I would like to add onto this!

I’m currently in college and I have a full tuition scholarship! I am sooo fortunate to have this. I still pay almost $15,000k a year for room and board, food, and books.

I ended up getting a work/study program at my college so I can contribute to that growing number. Hopefully, if the plan goes well then I’ll be leaving college with a small amount of debt (compared to other people who went to college around me)

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Hey Dee! First, congratulations on securing a scholarship!! :raised_hands:t5::sparkling_heart::purple_heart:

That’s still a lot of money (15K), but nothing you won’t be able to handle!

It’s amazing how there’s so many things we have to do to be able to go to college :joy:

But I have no doubt that you’re rocking in :raised_hands:t5::sparkling_heart::purple_heart:

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