An Ultimate Guide: Junior High School vs Senior High School

Dr. Heena Rachh
Feb 13, 2023
Learning, School

High school is an important part of every teenager's life. It is a time for them to learn and grow, to make friends and explore their interests.

High school provides students with the opportunity to develop skills that will help them succeed in college, career, and life. It teaches them how to think critically, work collaboratively, manage their time effectively, and become responsible citizens.

High school also helps teenagers build strong relationships with peers and mentors who can provide guidance and support during this crucial stage in their lives. 

High schools in International Schools in Tokyo are divided into 2 types. One is Junior High School and another is Senior High school. Many people assume Junior and Senior high school to be the same but they differ greatly.

To clear the doubts, we will explain in details about Junior and senior high schools as well as how both the high schools vary from each other in terms of age, grades, subjects, and etc.

What Is High School?

High school is an educational institution that typically provides secondary education to students between the ages of 14-18. In some countries, high school is also referred to as secondary school, senior high school, or secondary college.

High school curriculum usually covers a wide range of subjects, including math, science, social studies, language arts, foreign languages, physical education, and electives. Students are typically required to complete a certain number of credits in each subject area in order to graduate and receive a high school diploma.

High school may also offer extracurricular activities, such as sports teams, music and theater programs, and clubs, which provide opportunities for students to pursue their interests and develop their skills outside of the classroom.

In most countries including Tokyo, high school education is compulsory for all students up to a certain age, and it is generally considered a critical stage in a student's academic and social development. High school graduation is often a requirement for entry into higher education institutions such as colleges and universities.

What is Junior High School?

Junior High School is an educational institution that provides students with the opportunity to learn and develop their skills in preparation for high school. Grades in junior high school in Japan typically covers 7th to 9th, and is a bridge between elementary school and high school.

Junior High School focuses on developing academic skills, as well as social and emotional skills, to help students transition into high school. It also provides a safe environment for students to explore their interests and discover new ones. 

What is Senior High School?

Senior high school, also known as high school or secondary school, is an educational institution that typically provides education to students in grades 10-12. Senior high school usually follows junior high school (middle school) in the educational system.

Senior High School is typically the final stage of formal education before students move on to college or university. During this period, students are expected to develop their skills and knowledge in preparation for further study or employment. Senior High School also provides an opportunity for students to explore their interests and passions, as well as gain valuable life experience.

Difference Between Junior And Senior High School? 

High school is a crucial part of a student's life, and the transition from junior to senior high school can be a daunting one. While there are many similarities between the two levels of high school, there are also some key differences that students should be aware of.

1. Curriculum & Subject Offerings

 Junior high school and senior high school are two distinct levels of education that have different curriculums. Curriculum of Senior high school is more individualised, while junior high is broader, with students essentially studying the same subjects. The curriculum in junior high exposes students to a range of subjects and helps them develop fundamental academic skills. The curriculum offered to students at junior high school include – CBSE, Cambridge and CLSP. Some of the common subjects studied in junior high include English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and physical education. Junior high curriculum may also include introductory courses in foreign languages, the arts, and technology.

On the other hand, the curriculum in senior high is typically more specialized and focused on preparing students for college, career, and life beyond high school. The curriculum choices for students at Senior High School include – CBSE and International Baccalaureate.  Senior high curriculum may include more advanced courses in subjects such as English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and foreign languages. Students in senior high may also have more opportunities to choose elective courses in areas that interest them, such as arts, technology, or career and technical education.

Senior high school curriculum is more rigorous and demanding than junior high curriculum. This is because senior high is typically seen as a critical time for students to develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in college or their chosen career path. However, the specific curriculum and level of rigor can vary depending on the educational system, school, and individual student's goals and interests.

2. Age Group And Grades

Junior high school typically covers grades 7-9 and serves students who are between the ages of 11 and 14. Senior high or high school, on the other hand, covers grades 10-12 and serves students who are between the ages of 14 and 18.

3. Extracurricular Activities

Senior high schools tend to offer a wider range of extracurricular activities than junior high schools, and these activities may be more advanced and specialized in nature. For eg: Senior high schools often have a wider variety of sports teams and clubs than junior high schools, and these teams may compete at a higher level. Besides, senior high schools have advanced performing arts program, more volunteering opportunities, career and technical education programs that will all help students to prepare for a career once they graduate from senior high.  

4. Social Environment

 Senior high students are often more independent and have more autonomy in their social interactions and relationships, while junior high students may still be developing social skills and relationships.

5. Fee Structure

 The fees for senior high school tend to be higher than those for junior high school due to the increased complexity of the curriculum and the higher level of education. High school fees can also be affected by additional factors such as extracurricular activities, sports programs, and other special programs offered by the school. Many private schools also offer scholarships to help families cover the cost of tuition.

6. Workload

The workload in junior high school is generally less than in senior high This is because junior high school is typically designed to help students transition from elementary school to high school and to introduce them to more advanced academic topics.

In senior high school, students are expected to have a more focused and intensive workload as they prepare for college or the workforce. This means that they often have more classes per day and more homework, and may be required to take more advanced courses.

7. Teachers

 Senior high teachers often have advanced degrees and specialized training in their subject area, while junior high teachers may be more generalists with a broader teaching background.

8. Preparation For College Or Career

Senior high is often seen as a critical time for students to develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in college or their chosen career path, while junior high is more focused on providing a foundational education and developing fundamental academic skills.

9. Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for junior high school are that students must complete their basic primary education which is grades 1-6. On the other hand, for students who want to get promoted to senior high school, they must pass the secondary school which is 9th and 10th.


The terms "junior high school" and "senior high school" can vary depending on the location or country. Some places use the term "middle school" instead of junior high school, while others may refer to senior high school as "high school." This can lead to confusion when comparing education systems across different regions. But now we hope that the above pointers will help parents and students to differentiate between the educational systems.



What Is 12th Grade Called In Japan?

Grade 12 is called as (Koko) senior high school in Japan

What Is An 11th Grader Called In Japan?

In Japan, 11th graders are typically referred to as “Grade 2 upper secondary/senior high school student (koukou ninensei)”.

What Is The Highest Grade In High School In Japan?

Highest grade in high school of Japan is “Grade 3 of senior high school”

Is Middle School Called As Junior High School In Japan?

Middle school is called as lower secondary school (chūgakkō) in Japan.


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Dr. Heena Rachh

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