back to top

16 Things That Are Actually Really Weird About American High Schools

Prom, pep rallies, and the fact that most of you didn't have to wear a uniform.

Posted on

1. That high school only lasts for four years.


In Australia, middle school doesn't exist. You go to primary school — aka elementary school — then go straight to high school, where you stay for six years.

2. That most American high schools don't require students to wear a uniform.


Although the uniform at my public high school was casual (a white polo shirt and navy shorts/pants/skirt) it was still mandatory. I can't even begin to imagine how stressful choosing a cool new outfit everyday must be.

3. That prom is something that happens IRL and not just in TV shows and movies.

Touchstone Pictures

In Australia we had a "formal" in year 10 and another fancy celebration for our graduation, but dates weren't a big thing and the whole affair was pretty casual.


4. And that homecoming is also a real thing????

Decaydance Records

I can't wrap my head around the fact that people really vote for homecoming king and queen. What's the purpose of this beyond being a blatant popularity contest?

5. That you get to have your own locker at school.

Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

I know some other schools around the world also have lockers, but it's not always a given. I personally had to carry my books around all day in my backpack like some kind of pack horse.

6. And have locker rooms where everyone just gets changed in front of each other.


I don't know if it was because we had a pretty comfy uniform, but we just did sports class in whatever we wore to school that day so never had to change clothes anywhere.

7. That you have a cafeteria with proper tables, chairs, and hot lunch.

Uncle Roger / Getty Images

Mate, I used to eat a homemade Vegemite sandwich for lunch every day — unless I had money to buy a sausage roll from the canteen, of course.


9. And that bleachers exist in schools to house the many sport spectators.

Paramount Pictures / Via

If someone suggested I go watch my high school sports team play out of school hours, I would have assumed it was some kind of sick joke.

10. That cheerleading and pep rallies are a real thing you got to watch and/or be part of.


In all honestly, as a teenager I longed for nothing more than being a cheerleader. Sadly, cheerleading is not a thing in Australia and even if it was, I probably lacked the necessary coordination anyway.


12. That summer break goes for THREE ENTIRE MONTHS.

Jacoblund / Getty Images

In Australia we get six weeks for a Christmas holiday that also happens to be over summer. It's obviously amazing but man, I would have liked to have three months off.

13. That your school buses are all bright yellow.

Websitemedic / Getty Images

I'm guessing that American high schoolers, like Australian high schoolers, stop catching the bus once they can drive a car, but the fact that all your school buses are yellow is still wild. At home our buses look just like regular buses.