Chinese face tougher hurdles for Ivy League schools

Zhao Xinying 

August 18, 2014

Chinese students applying for undergraduate programs at top US universities, especially those in the Ivy League, are increasingly facing tough competition, Chinese education consultants said.

“We have felt the difficulty in helping students apply for the top universities in the US this year, as the competition for admission to these universities has been the fiercest in recent years,” said Wang Jing, director of the US study consultants of Chivast Education International, a Beijing-based overseas study consultancy under the Education Ministry’s Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange.

“We’ve found that students should score higher than 110 (out of 120) on the TOEFL and 2,200 (out of 2,400) in the SAT to secure their admission to prestigious American universities. But in previous years, more than 105 in TOEFL and more than 2,100 on the SAT was adequate,” he said.

The Ivy League consists of eight prestigious universities ranked among the best in the world.

According to Ivy Coach, a website that tracks Ivy League statistics, the schools admitted 22,624 of the 253,472 applicants for the Class of 2018, making the admission rate 8.9 percent.

For the Class of 2017, the eight universities admitted 23,010 of the 247,283 they received, a rate of 9.3 percent.

Wang said the tough competition is a result of the spike in the number of applications, especially from Chinese students.

“China is now the largest source of international students in the United States. About 93,000 Chinese students went to the US to pursue their undergraduate study in 2013, almost 20,000 more than in 2012.

“These are just those who are admitted, and the number of those who applied was much, much bigger, not to mention that there are also large numbers of applications from other countries,” Wang said.

“But at the same time, the number of students these prestigious universities admit is comparatively stable. Under such circumstances, a drop in admission rates is inevitable,” Wang said, adding that he expects it will become increasingly difficult to get into elite universities.

Gao Yanding, founder of Yanding US-China Education, a consulting institute for Chinese students studying in the US, agreed with Wang. “Applicants, especially Chinese ones, are preparing for applications earlier and earlier and their scores are getting higher. In that sense, a slight decline in these universities’ admission rate is normal and understandable.”