High School vs College
The terms High School, College and University, all denotes the educational institutions that teach students at various levels. Level of teaching provided at each institutions and their authority to award certificate varies from country to country. The term high school was first used in Scotland to describe secondary school. The world’s oldest high school is Royal High School (Edinburgh), established in 1505.
Here we will see how these two terms are interpreted in different English speaking countries.
In Unites States a high school is in general terms refers to an upper secondary school, which educates children from grade 9 through grade 12. Although this is the general definition this may be different in some states within US; there are some senior high schools that cover only grades 10-12 and some other educate either from grades 7-12 or grades 6-12.
On successful completion of the high school students will receive high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate, which is required to enter a college, a university or to any other tertiary education programs. These are the general high schools in US. There are vocational high schools also available in US which offer career based hands on training to students.
In Unites Kingdom, England and Wales officially do not use the term high school to describe secondary school, but strangely the term high school itself was introduced by Scotland to refer secondary schools.
In most of the Commonwealth countries, Australia and New Zealand, the term high school is commonly used to refer to the institution that provides secondary education to students. But the grades may vary from country to country and state to state. On successful completion of the high school students will receive High School certificate, which is, in most cases essential for tertiary education.
In Canada the term high school refers generally to schools comprising grades 8 through 12. High schools are also referred to as Secondary School or Collegiate Institute.
In India, secondary educational institutions are known as Higher Secondary School or senior Secondary School or Junior College.
The definition of college depends on which country it is functioning. The usage of the term college varies vastly between US and many other countries. It may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, an institution within a university or affiliated to it, an institution offering vocational, or it can be a secondary school as well.
In the United States and Ireland, college and university are loosely interchangeable. College and university, both may offer undergraduate studies and award degrees, but university in addition to awarding undergraduate degrees is basically a research institution offering post-graduate degrees.
In the UK, Australia, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries, college often refer to a high school, a vocational institution, or a part of a university.
In these countries the term college more often used to refer to an institution between secondary school and university or to a part of the university which does not have degree-awarding powers in itself but prepare students for the degree of the university of which the college is a part or affiliated with it.
There are some university colleges, which are independent and have the power to award degrees, but they are not recognized in par with universities.
The term college also used to refer to some professional bodies, such as: the Royal College of Organists, the Royal College of Surgeons, etc.
In conclusion, high school refers to an educational institution that offer secondary education and the grades available in the high school may vary from country to country and state to state, it may have grades from 10 through to 12, 6 to 12 or anything in between and up to secondary certificate level (diploma in US). A college in US may offer degrees, whereas in UK and other commonwealth countries, it does not have degree-awarding authority on its own. It is commonly an educational institution between secondary school and university.