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Rich Chinese Parents Prefer Sending Their Children To Western High Schools & Universities

Amid rigorous and tough education programs in China, an increasing dilution of Chinese talent is mapped out in this ‘Export of Studies’ infographic.

The education system in the East is very different from those of Western nations. It is not uncommon for children as young as 3 years old to have to interview to gain acceptance into their kindergarten of choice. As they get older, the process gets increasingly competitive, creating a studious and unimaginably hard-working and high-pressure culture. As cited in Export of Studies, parents are looking to escape a linear and tightly focused system in favour of the more individual-centered and creativity-encouraging schools of the West.

With the United States, the U.K. and Canada receiving the most students, it seems China will have to make some modifications to its curriculum to retain the talent of its young. Link



China currently provides around 21 percent of all international students newly enrolled in American schools – contributing roughly $4 billion to the American economy, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, writes Adriene Mong at NBC News. Link

College officials and consultants say they are seeing widespread fabrication on applications, whether that means a personal essay written by an agent or an English-proficiency score that doesn’t jibe with a student’s speaking ability. American colleges, new to the Chinese market, struggle to distinguish between good applicants and those who are too good to be true.

Zinch China, a consulting company that advises American colleges and universities about China, last year published a report based on interviews with 250 Beijing high-school students bound for the United States, their parents, and a dozen agents and admissions consultants. The company concluded that 90 percent of Chinese applicants submit false recommendations, 70 percent have other people write their personal essays, 50 percent have forged high-school transcripts, and 10 percent list academic awards and other achievements they did not receive. The “tide of application fraud,” the report predicted, will most likely only worsen as more students go to America.

She has seen conditionally admitted students increase their Toefl scores by 30 or 40 points, out of a possible 120, after a summer break, despite no significant improvement in their ability to speak English. Her students, she says, don’t see this intense test-prepping as problematic: “They think the goal is to pass the test. They’re studying for the test, not studying English.” Link

Zhao Jun, a municipal education official who is hoping to send his son abroad, told the Atlantic that Chinese courses are “too rigid, the method of teaching is too mechanical, and the standard for measuring talent is too one-dimensional.”


However, most wind up staying for the long term. Last year, Fujian’s Overseas Chinese (Huaqiao) University estimated that only 497,400 of the 1.62 million students that arrived in the United States between 1978 and 2009 returned to the land of their birth. That means almost 70 percent of the Chinese students who came to the U.S. during that period made it their new home. Link

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3 responses to “Rich Chinese Parents Prefer Sending Their Children To Western High Schools & Universities

  1. russell August 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    This is really intriguing. Why is this happening with the Chinese upper-class when it didn’t happen with the Japanese? Did it happen or is it happening with the Koreans?

    Where are the Chinese elite moving to? I imagine the Bay Area, San Gabriel valley and New York. Seems like a good opportunity.

  2. Eric Patton August 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Yeah, the Chinese are much more spread out compared to other asian groups.

    Between 1975-1990 the Philippines and South Korea sent the biggest waves of asian immigrants to the US. The numbers of Koreans moving into the US peaked and went down post-1990. The economic conditions improved in Korea, new immigration laws for professionals plus the L.A. riots gave America a bad name among Koreans for a little while.

    The numbers are going back up again though, academic competition may be driving them to the US to get into decent colleges instead of going to 2nd or 3rd tier Korean colleges. On the other hand, some institutions in South Korea are having to close up shop because of a lack of students, so that doesn’t add up. I’d guess the lesser institutions have a stigma attached to them that makes it difficult to get a job.

    It seems that the younger they come in, the more likely they are to stay and make the US their home.

    The number of Japanese immigrants has been small in the recent decades compared to all of the other asian groups. Though the pew study linked at the bottom of the post indicates many of the immigrants, who are more skilled than the average person in Japan, think life is better here than in Japan. Overall it looks like most Japanese simply don’t immigrate to other countries as much:

    • russell August 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      This is a really detailed answer to my questions. Why don’t you email me. I’d like to pick your brain about something in a more non-public setting

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