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Education (English Topic)

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Getting a good education is important, as it will help you get a good job with a good salary.
Every country has rules which govern its own education system. In the United States, as per
Constitution, each of the 50 states has the right to detail how their system of education is set up.
However, the basic setup of education is practically the same throughout the United States.
The first step of an American education is known as 'Elementary School'. (Some old-
fashioned terms for this are “Primary School” and “Grade School”) Elementary school starts with
“Kindergarten” and goes through either 5
or 6
grade, depending on the state. (Kindergarten, 1
Grade, 2
Grade, etc.) On average, a child starts Kindergarten at the age of 5, although they may be
younger or older depending on their level of maturity. Upon completing elementary school, students
will then enter Middle School or Junior High School, which involves grades 6-8 or 7-9 respectively,
again depending on state law. After that comes 'High School', which ends with 12
grade. A student
who successfully completes all coursework and earns a high enough GPA
will graduate from high
school and receive his or her high school diploma. Normally, if a student isn't held back
or if he or
she skips a grade
, he or she will be 18 (years old) at graduation. If a student is unable to complete
the minimum academic requirements of his/her high school (usually due to laziness), then he/she may
“drop out”. This is highly discouraged, and can technically only be done when a student reaches the
age of 18, when the student is legally an adult. However, it sometimes happens that students drop
out before that age. A person who drops out of school is called a 'dropout'. If a dropout later wishes
to complete his/her education, he/she may take a special test and earn a GED (General Equivalency
Diploma – colloquially, General Education Diploma). Although one must pay to take the test for a
GED, primary school is free for all children, regardless of citizenship.
At this point, the high school graduate or
holder of the GED has a choice. He or she
can find work without further education, or he
or she can try to attain higher education at a
college or university. If they want to simply
their skills in a technical field in order to
get a job quickly, they can attend a technical,
vocational, or trade school, for example in the
field of carpentry or car repair. These
schools often take only 6 months or a year,
and frequently can be completed in tandem
a regular '9 to 5'. If a student desires to get a formal
higher education, he or she will apply to a
college or university. In the United States, there is virtually no difference between a college and a
university. The terms are virtually synonymous. More often than not, a university is more prestigious
and larger than a college, but this is not always the case. One of the best institutions of higher
learning in the US is Dartmouth College, which is the smallest school in the Ivy League. Copyright©2010 English
.ru All rights reserved
The Ivy League is a name for a group of 8 schools which always place near the top in the
college/university rankings by the U.S. News & World Report
. These highly prestigious schools
include: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard
University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University. Colleges and
universities normally have a certain field of study that sets them apart from others. For example,
Harvard University is known as the best school for lawyers, and the University of Pennsylvania is
known as the best school for banking and finance. There are many other schools outside of the Ivy
League which are highly reputed
. Stanford University, founded by railroad magnate
Leland Stanford,
is currently ranked number 4 by the U.S. News & World Report
, and specializes in Law, Business,
Medicine, and Engineering. In the United States, certain fields are demanded more than others, but there is rarely a 'cycle of
demanded specialties' which calls for doctors one year, and accountants the next.
Paying for college and university in the United States is a big deal. Unlike in many European
countries, higher education is NOT state-sponsored. The expense of higher education is enormous.
Almost every university has an 'in-state' price and an 'out-of-state' price. Those living outside of the
state must pay significantly more for tuition (usually several thousand dollars more per academic year)
than those living within that state. That is, if I am from Louisiana and want to move to New York to
attend New York University, my tuition is going to be significantly more than that of a New York
resident. Luckily, there are various scholarships, both academic and athletic, that one can apply to to
help reduce the expenses associated with college life. These expenses include tuition, room and
, books, and other living expenses.
Some students live in apartments near the college or at home with their parents, but most
students live in the dormitory. The American standard of living in the dormitory is high compared to
that of Russia's, but it varies from university to university. There is no stigma attached to living in the
dormitory, and in fact in most colleges, that is where the majority of camaraderie
Foreigners (non-citizens of the USA) are given equal opportunity to earn a degree from an
American university. They must first show that they are proficient in English, to ensure that they will
be successful. This is established by earning a high score on the TOEFL test. There is no pass or
fail mark on the TOEFL exam, and each university establishes its own score minimums. In addition to
TOEFL, prospective college students, both national and foreign, will have to take the ACT or SAT test
for the Bachelor's program, and a GRE, LSAT, or other specialized test for Master's degrees. In
addition, there will be other requirements for entrance into a college or university, set by those
institutions themselves. Common examples of such requirements are entrance exams or essays.
College admissions boards, the group of people who determine which students are invited to study at
a given university or not, will also look at the student's GPA, extracurricular activities, community
service, and sports.
A bachelor's degree usually takes 4 years to earn, and a master's
degree usually takes an additional 2 years, although it is sometimes done
in a single year. Depending on the subject, a bachelor's degree will be a
B.A. (Arts) or B.S. (Science). Master's degrees are put into the same
categories. Some continue their education even further after receiving
their master's degree. These people continue with 1-2 years of additional
coursework and research, culminating
in comprehensive examinations
and the writing of a professional dissertation. This doctorate education is
often called a Ph.D.
Which education system do you prefer – the US or Russian system?
After successfully earning an advanced degree, it is easier to get a
good job with a higher salary. However, in today's world amidst the global financial crisis, getting a
good job is not a given for anyone. Only those who represent themselves well will succeed in getting
a good job. Copyright©2010 English
.ru All rights reserved
The job interview is a very important aspect in landing a job, as is making a good first impression.
There are many famous people who have succeeded without a formal higher education. Bill Gates
did not earn a college degree, and Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, dropped out of college after one
semester! Nonetheless, both are very rich, successful businessmen. What value do you place on a
higher education degree? What qualities trump
a degree in higher education? What fields do you
think require formal education, and which do not? What assumptions do you make about people who
have a formal education vs. those who do not?
As per (something)
= Official way of saying “in accordance with” or “as set forth by the rules of”.
Normally used to describe something relating to an official document or business contract. [As per the
housing lease agreement you signed last May, you must pay a yearly $150 fee for trash removal.
When I return to Russia, I have to re-register with the Migration Service, as per foreign residency laws
of the Russian Federation.]
GPA = Grade Point Average. A numerical system used to give an overall, average score for a
student's studies. [Sarah earned 3 A's and one B this semester, so she has a 3.75 GPA.]
To be held back
= A student is “held back” when they demonstrate a lack of maturity or academic
ability. [Mrs. Johnson was forced to hold John back after he failed every exam. My sister was held
back in 3
grade because she acted like a kindergartener. So now she'll repeat 3
grade next year!]
To skip a grade
= When a student is very smart and/or ambitious, he/she may skip a grade (ex: finish
grade and start immediately in 5
grade), as long as he/she demonstrates such ability. [Tom made
straight A's in 4
grade and was bored all year, so he took a special test with his teacher and decided
to skip 5
To hone = To improve or perfect a talent/ability that is already well developed. [Evgeny Plushenko
won the silver medal at the 2010 Olympics, but he may have to switch coaches in order to hone his
skills to compete for a gold medal at the 2014 Olympics.]
In tandem (with something) = Together and at the same time. [Bill and Sue didn't plan it, but they
both applauded in tandem after the governor's speech. The clown was juggling knives in tandem with
the bearded lady dancing on the same stage.]
Reputed = [ADJECTIVE] (1) Having a good repute (reputation) [John always gives half of his salary
to charity. He is reputed in the community. NOTE: Synonymous with “reputable”] (generally
considered to be honest and reliable)
(2) Being such according to reputation or general belief.
[Although the police have not found enough evidence to arrest him, one can tell by the glances he
receives in public that he is a reputed criminal.]
Magnate = A successful and powerful person in a certain industry. Room and board
= A place to sleep and food to eat. “Half board” is when a room and only breakfast
and dinner are provided. “Full board” is when 3 daily meals, in addition to a room, is provided.
= Goodwill and lighthearted rapport between friends; comradeship; a spirit of familiarity
and trust existing between friends. [It is important for sports teams to have good camaraderie in
order for them to perform well.]
To culminate
= To have or lead to an important result. [A series of financial disasters culminated in
the collapse of the nation's largest bank.]
Copyright©2010 English
.ru All rights reserved
To trump (something)
= To outdo or surpass something (in value/importance); To triumph over
something. [Jack and I were both trying to get a date with Sally. For weeks we gave her gifts and
spend a lot of time trying to win her heart. In the end, Jack's fancy Mercedes trumped my 1976 Lada,
and Sally agreed to date Jack.] [NOTE: Origin of this verb comes from cards – trump card (козырь,
like in “дурак”)]
To school (somebody):
To train or discipline (As his private tutor, Mrs. Smith schooled Viktor in history, mathematics, and
foreign languages. Viktor is particularly well schooled in Ukrainian history.)
Colloquial variant of “To teach someone a lesson” (Oh man, I can't believe he scored so many goals
against you. He schooled you! Yeah, you got schooled!)
E-Learning = Web-Based Learning
: Crap! I've got a test in 2 days, and I
haven't even started to study for it!
: What subject?
: History and Methodology of
International Relations
: Ut-oh.....your prof
isn't Gutorov, is it?
: You're dead meat
! He's strict, and his
exams are extraordinarily difficult!
: Darn, I was afraid of that. I'll have to
come up with a solution.....hmmm, what
about cheat sheets?
: Cheat sheets are a no-go
. He makes
all his students put their bags and all notes in
the far corner of the classroom before the start of the exam!
: Maybe I'll write some key phrases and important dates on my hand.
: That won't work. He watches his students like a hawk throughout the testing period.
Oh man, this guy is tough. Maybe if I kiss up
to him beforehand, he will be generous in
giving me a score.
: Unlikely. It is well known that he is a heartless old man.
: This isn't looking good! I'm running out of options here. Let's see.......maybe I can get him
: Well, actually, I heard through the grapevine
that he's a raging alcoholic, so that's a
possibility.....but how will you do it?
: I'll just fill up his water bottle with vodka.
: But he only drinks Diet Coke.
Fantastic. I'll just fill it with one half Coke, one half Whiskey. Victory!
: Good luck!
Copyright©2010 English
.ru All rights reserved
= shortening/nickname for professor (pronounced “proff”)
You're dead meat!
= You're in trouble = You have no exit/escape from the problem you are facing
= A situation in which planned operations cannot be completed. [Launching of the space
shuttle was a no-go due to inclement weather.]
To kiss up (to somebody)
= To flatter and/or overly compliment someone in the hopes of getting
something from them in return. [The only reason John is a starter on the football team is because he
is constantly kissing up to the coach!]
To hear (something) through the grapevine
= To hear about something by rumor
Just Speak!
Written by Bunny Copyright©2010 English
.ru All rights reserved
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