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At What Age Do You Start High School in the US?

High school is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of a student’s life and education. Compared to elementary or middle school, high school carries an advanced curriculum and goes on to shape a student’s choice for college.

But how old should you be before you start your high school career? Is there a particular age range for high school students?

Those questions need answers since this aspect of education is significant for the rest of your life. Different countries set the age brackets for high school entry. For example, the United Kingdom puts the age bracket for high school students between 12 to 16.

In the United States, the age approximately starts at 13. However, the range is often pegged a bit higher, or from grades nine through twelve. These stronger formative years showcase the student’s abilities and aptitude in several subjects. With that in mind, this article will help identify what age you start high school.

High School Education – Meaning

High school is more than a starting point and is mostly regarded as the transition stage between primary education and college. Additionally, lessons in high school carry more weight than primary school lessons.

Students who have completed elementary school are eligible to begin high school in the ninth grade through the twelfth grades. Further, in some states, pupils can begin high school as early as eleven years.

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Eleven is young, but for early grades, it’s appropriate, especially in leading states. Teenagers also attend high school before starting their education in college.

Besides, high school students may enroll in a reputable college for their future studies if they perform exceptionally well. High school is also commonly referred to as a student’s final educational requirement before college.

From high school, it’s pretty clear which career path your life will tilt towards, so choosing a course or two becomes easy.

High school hallway

High School Education: The United States System

The United States runs a unique high school system, and the educational system is a particular one. In line with that, students must attend class from 7 to 9 am and leave school at around 4 pm. However, the duration of the classes will vary from school to school and subject to subject. High school students can expect a maximum class duration between 40 to 90 minutes.

Further, a lunch break is available between the middle of regular class periods. The teachers are mandated to give students homework, and the students are expected to return the homework after a stated period.

But the amount of homework differs from school to school and from state to state. In the same vein, extracurriculars are part of the whole system; students are encouraged to participate in different activities.

Extras and Hours

Students must participate in high school extracurriculars, such as swimming, tracking, running, research, and indoor games. These activities are important and a necessary addition to academic achievements. For example, big universities like Havard, MIT, Caltech, Yale, and many more require high school students to display a well-rounded flair and ability.

In terms of hours, there were initially 120 class hours in a year in United States high schools. These hours amount to twenty-four weeks, five days for one hour. The students who manage to complete the course are rewarded. Moreover, students study for four years in high school and deal with eight core subjects here.

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Passing a course means earning credit, but students must get 30 credits to graduate. Sometimes, students are required to remain in the study hall by the school authority to have a more rounded educational experience.

At what age do you start high school?

If you’re wondering what the mandatory age is for high school, it’s important to note that states are left to their preferences. High schools in the United States provide high-quality education to their teeming students.

Further, the law of the American state makes knowledge a must for students so that growing kids can be educated. As a result, age restrictions vary from state to state, but education is compulsory for certain periods.

Most states require pupils to attend high school from the age of fourteen. Perhaps you are a parent or guardian of a thirteen-year-old student. It’s the right time to select a high school and ensure the student meets the requirements to enter it.

Also, high school attendance is often mandatory from 13.5 to 18, so it would be impossible to attend high school after 18. Ensure you don’t waste any more time trying to find the best high school for your child.

happy high school students

High School Physical Requirements

The overall American education system starts with children aged four to six. So if a pupil starts kindergarten at age six, it follows that his/her high school will start from age 15 and end at 18.

There’s an important aspect to consider, though – the physical stability of the student before they’re admitted into high school. To that extent, the curriculum requires physical education, and a student would need at least 225 minutes of P.E. per week.

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Such physical activities are vital and make students physically active. Besides, students must have an understanding of motor skills and their movement. They can get that from participating in physical activities.

In addition, health-related fitness and care can be shaped during the pre-high school stage. They form important aspects and requirements for students to gain admission to high schools.

How Can Students Apply For High School?

High school presents a great opportunity for students to make the best out of their student life. They get appropriate instructions that will help them build a solid future. Before you help them choose a suitable high school to attend, you have to follow these steps:

  • Search for the best high schools around. Some parents prefer sending their kids to boarding houses, depending on their upbringing.
  • Draw up a list of the best schools around
  • The requirements required to gain entry into the school are essential
  • Check out the school’s profiles and other records
  • Make a decision for the student based on the rankings

As for the process to apply to your chosen high school, you can take these steps:

  • Create an account for the process
  • Get all the necessary information you need
  • Check your list and rank the schools you have selected according to your preferences, such as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice.
  • Submit your application within the stated time frame
high school classroom with students

At What Age are You Allowed to Drop Out of High School?

Dropping out of high school is a no-no for the authorities of various states. However, the states have legal ages where they can leave school. Some governments and educational authorities can allow students to leave high school at 16. Still, some other states only allow students to leave high school once they reach 17 or 18.

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Some reasons advanced for high school students leaving include a dislike for their current school, unfavorable conditions, and some students dropping out to study in a college abroad.

High Schoolers and Tattoos

artist making a tattoo

Some students who want to look ‘cool’ or keep up with modern times might decide to get a tattoo. But are high schoolers allowed to have tattoos? No. Most high school students are under 18, so technically, they’re ruled out from getting tattoos.

It would be perfect to have one if you were 18, while some schools have strict restrictions on students having visible tattoos. Moreover, you can’t have a tattoo without your parent’s consent. If you opt for a temporary one, that would be better than having a permanent one. You can remove it just as easily as you put it.

You shouldn’t have a tattoo if you are under 18 years old. Besides, it’s not in the best interest of your overall health.

Are There Similarities Between High Schools and Colleges?

Sometimes, it’s a question of grammar than a function of designation. But some states consider high school as a college. The United States distinguishes the two – a college is not the same as a high school, and a college education comes after high school. In some countries, they are the same thing.

When it comes to the age of students, a high school covers grades 9 through 12, mainly for students between ages 14 and 18. However, your resident state might have something else in mind.

On the other hand, a college offers much more than high school, especially with focus areas or disciplines. Moreover, college takes about 2 – 4 years to complete to get a degree for your preferred program and optional years for more specialized education.

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Final Words

From the information above, high school students are generally admitted to high school at 14. At the same time, some states may differ in their rules and regulations.

The majority post 14 as the acceptable years. Further, most states in America mandate pupils to attend high school. That means parents/guardians must find ways to enroll their kids at the required age.

High school students are also required to have some form of physical activity and extracurriculars, which are part of their education. Besides, these activities are considered when students are considered for admission into college education. On the whole, it is better to have kids enrolled in high school when due. Further delay will hurt their education and future.

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