Just like other countries, Mexico has three basic levels of education. The first is required, while the second and third are optional for Mexican children. In secondary school, young people should determine whether they plan on completing higher education or education in some type of technical field. At this point, their decision will guide them toward the type of second-level education plan they need.

Educational System

The first level of education in Mexico begins with preschool, primary and secondary (middle) school. Children finish secondary school when they are between the ages of 14 and 15. In the second education level, young people must choose between a preparatory school, which will ready them for university and a technical preparatory school, which when finished will give them skills to enter the workforce. The third educational level is university and students select either a two-year technical degree or a four- to five-year bachelor's degree program. After completing this they can then do a one-year specialization, a two-year master's program or a three-year doctoral program.

Universities

There are just over 2,000 universities in Mexico, but of those many are very small and of poor quality. Most students go to public university but because of the large class numbers, a select number of private universities are becoming very popular. These private institutions have high educational standards and offer quality educational programs. Given the recent Mexican government focus on higher education and the availability of grants, this option is now attainable for students of all economic levels.

Quality in Higher Education

In Mexico there is still a large difference in the quality of education offered at universities. Some private and public universities are known throughout the world, while others are extremely poor in quality and chosen by students because they are easy to complete. This problem stems from a lack of a national accreditation system, which would standardize the quality of the entire educational system. As a general rule, Mexican universities that are associated with American universities, in both teacher and student exchange programs, have a high standard of education. These universities will be members of the Registry of Excellence Program (FIMPES) issued by the Mexican Ministry of Education.

Evaluation of Studies

As an American, if you want to study in a private or public education institute, and have completed course work in an American university, you will have to have an evaluation of your previous studies. The Mexican university admissions office where you intend to study can help you with this process.

Admission into a Mexican University

Public universities are free but can be difficult to get into because of the sheer number of applicants and if you are accepted as a foreign student, you may have to pay a certain monthly tuition. It is easier to get admission to a private institution, but the average tuition is $11,777 in comparison to $527 for public education as indicated at the time of publication.