Parents seeking advantages send kids to US schools while young

Zhao Xinying

December 29, 2014

Parents seeking advantages send kids to US schools while young

This year has witnessed an increasing number of young Chinese heading to the United States to study, with growth expected to continue in 2015 even as competition for admissions gets increasingly fiercer.

Nearly 27,000 Chinese students were attending US high schools in the 2012-2013 term, up from about 22,000 the year before.

Li Fengna, deputy director of the US department of Chivast Education International, an overseas study consultancy in China, said there are two main reasons why more Chinese students will head to the US.

“Some parents believe that there will be greater opportunities for their children to be admitted by prestigious US universities if the children start receiving education in the US at early ages.

“Others think that test-oriented education in domestic high schools is obliterating children’s talent and personality. These parents believe that the earlier they send their children out, the better,” Li said.

Li Peng, deputy general manager of Kentrexs Education Group, an agency that arranges for young Chinese to study in the US, said most of their students from North China were children ages 12 to 15 who wanted to attend middle school in the US, while those from prosperous cities in East and South China, such as Shanghai, were as young as 10.

The students will continue to get younger considering the improving financial status of Chinese families and Chinese parents’ growing trust in US elite education, Li Peng said.

Zhao Yao, a senior consultant with Vision Overseas, an overseas study consultancy, said thousands of Chinese students each year have been applying to a group of 10 elite US middle schools known as “Ivy League Junior” by Chinese people.

However, only about 20 of the students can be admitted.

“It may be more difficult in the future, as the number of Chinese applicants keeps growing,” she said.

The situation is the same at the college level.

In the 2013-14 academic year, about 110,000 Chinese students were studying at the undergraduate level in the US, compared to about 93,000 for the previous academic year, according to the US-based nonprofit group Institute of International Education.

Many overseas study consultants said this year was the most difficult one in recent years for Chinese students to gain admission to US universities, including students who applied for admission to Ivy League colleges – the eight universities ranked among the best in the US and the world.

According to Ivy Coach, a website that tracks Ivy League statistics, the schools admitted 22,624 applicants for the Class of 2018, an admission rate of 8.9 percent, lower than the 9.3 percent admitted into the Class of 2017.

Wang Jing, director of Chivast’s US department, said a drop in the admission rate is inevitable because the number of Chinese applicants has been increasing, while the number of students at prestigious universities in the US is comparatively stable.