A high school is a school, public or private, designed to complete secondary education and prepare them either to continue on to college or university, or to enter the workforce. In addition to completing this level of academic studies, high schools offer adolescents support in making the transition from childhood to adulthood in social, career, and other interests through extra-curricular activities as well as purely academic studies. Graduation from high school is considered a significant rite of passage in many cultures, particularly the United States.
Unification Thought theory of education explains that the goal of education is to nurture a young person's growth into mature adulthood, allowing them to achieve mastery in whichever area they have interest and talent, so that they can fulfill their individual potential, relate to others in society as good citizens, and exercise creative and loving dominion over their environment. The high school was established to complete the secondary level of such a system, including sufficient social skills and mastery of knowledge and techniques for graduates to be able to enter the workforce in society as adults. High schools also provides a significant transition either to higher education for those able and interested to pursue their studies or to apprenticeships or other "on-the-job" training programs for those who wish to develop practical skills.
In the ideal, all students would have the opportunity to continue their studies at high school and beyond. However, in many countries only basic education, often elementary education is all that is available; people having to enter the workforce at a young age. Also, high schools should nurture their students to become good citizens, providing guidance in social relationships as well as academic and other studies. Unfortunately, in many cases the social environment of high schools is far from ideal, rife with drug and alcohol abuse, bullying, crime, and sexual promiscuity leading to unplanned teenage pregnancies. Without a vision of the ideal human society, one in which all people live for the sake of others as one harmonious human family under the parenthood of God, high schools cannot be successful in fulfilling their purpose. Instead they often compound the problems of contemporary society by failing to guide young people successfully.