The Chinese Student Misconception About US Universities

by Professor_B

Chinese StudentChina is the ultimate prize in the international student recruiting realm. That is true for several reasons. China’s lure is beyond the obvious construct of sheer numbers.

It is numbers, true—but numbers in conjunction with highly qualified, highly motivated and typically well financed prospective students. It is an international recruiter’s dream. But for many, that dream can be elusive.

Recruiting in just one city in China can often yield more prospective students than entire countries. Chinese students endure and thrive in a rigorous and highly competitive academic environment from their youth.

Their place in an elite Chinese university is never certain, but their aspiration to achieve such is often undaunted.

Parents invest tremendous resources into insuring just such an outcome. For many, it ends in disappointment due to demand and supply factors.

For a few, that disappointment is so profound that it leads to despair and even suicide.

Almost all college bound Chinese students are the product of the one-child policy. Universally, it is taken as a given that solo children are typically pampered and spoiled.

In China, that is a double edge sword. Coupled with the pampering is the pressure of being the sole bearer of the family legacy.

Chinese parents can be obsessive about education. Many concede that the best prospect for their child is overseas. The United States is a preferred destination.

But that obsession, demonstrated by carrying the US News and World Report rankings in their purses, carries a particular challenge for most US universities.

The obsession comes with a misconstruction—typically incorrect definition of what is an “Ivy League” school—-coupled with a sheer determination to get their only child into one of these institutions.

Chinese college girl carrying a book The first challenge is to tactfully inform the Chinese parent and student that there are 3500 mostly good options in the United States.

To try to get it into their consciousness that most Americans do not go to or even apply to the “elite” institutions, misconstrued as “Ivy League” schools.

The reality check of the sheer daunting probabilities and the likely ill-fated uphill climb that will accompany their aspirations usually falls on deaf ears.

I have learned that over 80,000 Chinese students in a particular year applied to one elite US University were less than one half of one percent will be successful.

Another institution received over 40,000 and selected about 1%.

Meanwhile, several hundred very good institutions are willing to receive and cherish many of these students, would provide them with a great education and a great future, but cannot get consideration.

The latter personifies my frustration.

While I agree that everyone needs to seek the best or perceived best for his child, I do believe that with better information from agents, EDUSA, consortia and other stakeholders, parents can be sensitized to the options and the qualities of the varied and vast higher education infrastructure in the USA.

This overview of this highly significant and most valuable market is my personal outreach and appeal to China and Chinese students on behalf of the other 3400 or so very good US institutions who would love to welcome you.

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