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Deciphering the code that is American grade levels | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com
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Understanding American Grade Levels

Ever wondered what those funny terms are they use on TV or on the movies?  You know the ones I’m talking about right? It’s the same for College: Freshmen, Juniors, Seniors and Sophomores.  I thought it was time to take you through understanding American Grade levels.

The differences between Americans and Australians: grade level names

You may not have sat down to try to work it out but what do these terms actually mean? And, in fairness you may not even care.  But do they actually use them?  Why do they use them? (OK, I’m not answering that one as I plain & simple don’t know).

Understanding American Grade Levels (for dummies–like me)

9th Grade/Year 9          Freshmen

10th Grade/Year 10      Sophomores

11th Grade/Year 11       Juniors

12th Grade/Year 12      Seniors

Basically life only starts at High School (we all know the number of movies made about Middle School (formerly known as Junior High) and just how “awful” it is.  There is in fact one coming out very soon called Middle School Movie–quite the imaginative title don’t you think?)  Again, I don’t know why this is.

When you finish being a “Senior” at High School you start all over again to be a Freshmen at College.  And yes, the American College system is a four-year program.  That’s so they can make more money.

Meanwhile in Australia …

Well it’s not too difficult to work out. In a nutshell we just keep counting.

School Workloads

We were talking to friends in Australia about years 11 & 12–the critical years that affect what score you get which determines what Uni and course you can get into.  As you’d expect years 7 to 10 get harder by the year but the marks you get in this time don’t get used to calculate your score, nor do they get shared with the Uni or College you’re applying to.

In America there is a lot of talk about how your grade counts the minute you start Year 9.  Kids rush to take Honours classes (which helps get your GPA up if you get good marks) and there is an incessant amount of study and (some might say unnecessary for their age) late nights.

You see, here in good old US of A Colleges get sent your High School transcript.  I’m not really sure if the panic to exceed and succeed so you lose all sense of fun and your childhood is worth it but that’s how it rolls here.

Along with the late nights comes a rush to pick Community Service projects to outdo everyone else’s and find extra curricular activities that might make them attractive to College Admissions team.  Burn out much?

Anyways, more about all that in my series on Colleges–the beast it is here but at least know you know (as I know you’ve always wanted to) about those Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.

Have a good weekend–and be thankful you’re no longer at school.

xx It Started in LA xx

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