After middle or junior high school, U.S. students go to high school. Going to school is free in the United States, including high schools. Students do not need to pay tuitions, and even textbooks and lunches are free. Of course, we are talking about public schools. If parents choose to send their kids to private schools, they need to pay very expensive tuitions. High school is the last four years of school that students in the U.S. are required to attend by law.
High school students are divided by grades. It begins at 9th grade and finishes with 12th grade. Some high schools, even public high schools, have admission exams or an application process. Public schools admit students based on where they live. In order to successfully complete high school, students have to complete a series of core classes including math, English, science, history, a foreign language, and gym or physical education. Students usually can also choose to take electives, or specialized courses in a subject that interests them. Some high schools in the U.S. have exit exams that students are required to pass in addition to completing their courses in order to graduate and earn a high school diploma. A law called the No Child Left Behind Act requires high schools that get federal money to make students take a standardized exam every year. A high school diploma is required for students who want to continue on to college and is considered a minimum requirement for any jobs.
High schools classes are designed to prepare students for college. Some high schools offer specialized skills so that students can find work after graduation without going to college. Those are called vocational high schools. In high school, some students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes. These are college level classes. If the students pass an exam after taking AP classes, they can get college credit. In high school, students move from class to class throughout the school day.