Obtaining a higher education and studying at the university are the processes extended in time. Most importantly, education should eventually lead to the cherished goal - employment in the specialty with the prospect of career growth. Obtaining a higher education is a serious step that should be preceded by adequate preparation. One of these steps is the selection of the university, and furthermore, the selection of the country in which the student plans its further education. Despite the fact that the higher education system in the United States is one of the best in the world, comparative analysis between American high education and higher education of other countries will familiarize not only the advantages, but also disadvantages of American high education system.
There will be two examples – Germany and France. Higher education in France and Germany is rigidly structured; each specialty involves the study of a particular set of disciplines. All higher education institutions are autonomous enough, but ultimately they are under the control of the Ministry of Education. This trait is especially felt in France, where education in the public universities is much more prestigious than in private. However, in the United States, Department of Education does not play such a big role in the education itself because many U.S. states also have a state-level department of education.
In Germany and France, as well as in USA, students decide which lectures to attend, and which ones can wait. Certainly, there is a specific set of subjects that simply must be learned. The most significant difference between education in Europe and the U.S. in terms of students is in teaching methods. In Germany and France, the emphasis is on theory and independent study of the subject. This means that a student must form his or her own opinion on a particular issue, based on a lecture course and trends in domestic developments. In contrast, the education in the United States is famous for its practicality: the student does not study many “extra” disciplines, thus focusing on doing what will be directly useful in further professional activities (Swing 94).
All higher education in the United States is paid, so the struggle for the applicant compels universities to introduce new courses or modify the old ones, while often at the expense of the subject being taught. However, student pays $ 20000 for an average year of education in a private university, whereas in a public university student pays $ 14500. At the same time, there is a well-developed system of social support for the poor students in the U.S., as well as the system of scholarships for education (Thelin 163). A student can get a grant to study on behalf of the local baseball team or “the club of amateurs of the cactuses”, of course if he proves that he versed in it and cannot live without it. Therefore, the U.S. system of higher education provides external support for students, so it makes American high education system unique among all the systems of higher education in the world. Program, by which American students are learning, is almost impossible to describe, because every university is working as per its own individual plan. Common to all higher education institutions of the U.S. is only that, in four years, you can get a bachelor’s degree, and in six years you can get the master’s degree (Thelin 187).
In its turn, there is no clear distinction between secondary and higher education in France. Education at the French Lyceum, in fact, is equivalent to the first stage of higher education, although formally belongs to the middle one. Lyceum profile determines in which university graduate of the Lyceum will be able to continue his or her studies. A special committee of academics determines the graduate status. Only diploma marked BAC (Bachelor's) gives the right to enter a university. Other categories grant the right to special secondary education. Just two years after graduating from these institutions, the graduate can continue further education by enrolling in a university or specialized high school (Swing 112).
Most of the European universities are public. For example, there are about 80 public universities in France. Public higher education in Europe is quoted above the private. Educational plans of the public university are established by the Ministry of National Education. University teachers have a special status; their regular income and qualifications are guaranteed by the government. If we, again, take France as an example, then university education is divided into three two-year cycles. At the end of the first cycle, a student receives a diploma of general or scientific and technical university education. The first diploma does not virtually mean anything, and it is not valued in the labor market. The second one is more prestigious and quoted by employers (junior and mid-level managers). The second cycle ends by awarding of a master's degree. In the understanding of the French, master is a completed higher education. Most of the student stops on this level, but others continue education in the so-called Higher School (something similar to the Graduate School in the United States) (Hörner 132).
If we talk about Asian countries, for example, Japan, then the future of the student after the secondary school depends on an assessment of his abilities in admission to a prestigious school of the second stage and the university. Because of this, the majority of students in all classes, several nights a week, attend special training schools “juku”. It is believed that the future wellbeing and social importance of the person, to a large extent, is determined by the success on the entrance examinations to the secondary school level, college and university, and before that adolescent should overcome the “entrance examination hell” (“juken jigoku”). There are also private universities, where education is paid, and there is no competitive selection of students. Some private universities, such as Nihon Daigaku, have their own elementary and high schools. Currently, there are more than 400 universities in Japan (Yong 74).
In the summary, it should be noted that the main difference between American high education and higher education in other countries lies in the following: education in other countries involves not only the basic but also additional disciplines; in contrast, the U.S. system, in this respect, is more specialized - students learn only what they need to know. Moreover, there is a difference in the structure of education.
Thus, if in the other countries the activities of all universities are under strict control of the Ministry of Education, in the United States each university is free to offer its own training program, the list of disciplines, etc. That is, for choosing the university in United States, the student is required to study what each educational institution can offer. Also, it is easier to access a free education in Europe than in United States. However, the U.S. system is famous for scholarships; the talented student could easily expect that the university will save him a certain percentage of the cost of education. Most of the students that are going to get an education in USA wanted to comprehend the science not in mere theory; U.S. universities feature a lot of attention to practice. Therefore, their students enjoy the opportunity to get not only theoretical, but also professional skills. This is a huge plus - if the European or any other country university produces theoretician that needs to be retrained in production, the American graduate is a ready-made specialist. With regard to European universities, practice is also present, though not in such large quantities as in the American system.