Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Chinese Kids Eye Colleges in USA
A summer camp advertisement stuck on a billboard of local high school graduates admitted to top US colleges in front of the Tianjin Book Building (TJBB).
The annual national college entrance examination had been traditionally known as a single log bridge competed by tens of thousands of troops. The portrait was not an exaggeration when you consider 600,000 would be accepted by colleges out of over 8,000,000 attempted in 1989.
However, after a national policy to expand college admissions, over 4 million freshmen are admitted into college, while the total number of applications started to decline. Almost one million high school graduates did not apply for college in 2009. Some experts interpreted the decline of interest as a reflection of disappointing job market for college graduates.
On the other hand, students who applied for colleges in the US doubled. 15,000 mainland kids took SAT in Hong Kong between October 2008 and June 2009. There is no SAT test center in mainland China. Students travel to testing centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and as far as the US to take the test.
In major cities such as Beijing, Chongqing, up to 10-20 percent of high school graduates applied US colleges. Mr. Shen Xianzhang, deputy principle of the Rendafuzhong High school in Beijing told reporters that 43 students had been admitted by top US colleges, the majority went to Ivy League schools with full scholarship, including Harvard, Stanford and Yale. At Beijing No. 4 High School, 20 graduates went abroad for colleges in 2007. The number grew to 30 in 2008, and 50 in 2009. Another high school in Beijing, the Lab High School affiliated with Beijing Normal University sent 16 graduates to University of Toronto through a joint program.
A strong economy and a strong exchange rate against major western currencies certain help too. The total number of students studying in foreign universities and colleges increased from 144,000 in 2007 to 170,000 in 2008. The number is expected to almost double in 2009.
Stanley Nel of University of San Francisco told China Daily that "Students used to tell me that they did not have the money to go to USF, and they needed full scholarships. That is not the case now." More than 80 students from mainland China has been admitted to USF this year.