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Chinese Families Gaming the Admissions Process

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college admittance letterExamrat raceThis is one of the few articles that does a good job describing some of the cultural gaps between China and US.
Huffington Post’s A Particularly Chinese Dilemma: Why Chinese Students Game College Admissions

Excerpt from Article
“Over the six years I’ve been working with Chinese students on education initiatives, I’ve come to realize that there’s a particularly Chinese perspective to the problem. Chinese students are equally the victims of a system of educational exchanges that disincentivizes honesty, and turns the whole process into a rat race.

As a Chinese student, you spend 12 hours a day, at least six days a week in the classroom, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to avoid the often mandatory “late self-study” sessions that run well past 9:00 PM. The pressure of Chinese schooling militates against the type of internal dialogue that the American college essay demands. As a Chinese student, you’ve never had time to think about your failings because you’ve been too busy trying not to fail.”

I just returned from China after meeting several students. One student from Guilin told me that she is at school from 7am to 10:30pm! There is so much competition in China and very little room to ‘mess up.’
They know that they are competing against each other for limited admissions spots to our US schools and anything they can do to gain a competitive edge, they will. So many parents ask me about the cut off for TOEFL/SAT scores.

The irony of it all is the majority of students who can speak English fluently, do not necessarily score high on standardized tests. They tend to embody the outgoing personality suitable for US campus life and have lower grades because they do more outside the classroom like sports or activities.

Given how incredibly slow the Chinese internet is, I am not surprised by why most Chinese families depend on agents to make crucial decisions. Are US campuses doing enough to provide Chinese families with the tools to make the right decisions without relying on agents (i.e. provided Chinese translation in mainland media outlets and on Chinese hosted websites)? I believe this will make a difference on admissions yield. Everytime I am in China searching for a US campus, the same information comes up on either Zinch or Baidu- it’s as if agents are copying and pasting each other but most parents ask me if the information is trustworthy. Do most of our schools monitor what is written in Chinese about their campus or approve the information that agents put on their websites?

If you would like to learn how to disseminate your campus information to online Chinese media outlets and Chinese hosted websites, please contact or read UCC’s China Branding and Brand Protection article

Irene Tieh
CEO USA College ConnectionExam

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