The New York Times reports on the lengths and expenses Chinese families are going to to ensure their child’s acceptance to prestigious U.S. universities:
In the United States, students have long turned to independent college counselors, but in recent years, larger outfits have entered the market, offering full-service designer courses, extracurricular activities and focused application assistance. These services have spread to the fast-growing and lucrative market in China.
With China sending more students to American colleges than any other country, the competition for spots at the top schools has soared. During the 2009-10 academic year, 39,947 Chinese undergraduates were studying in the United States, a 52 percent increase from the year before and about five times as many as five years earlier, according to the Institute of International Education, a U.S. organization.
But students from China can find themselves ill-prepared for the admissions process at American colleges. The education system in mainland China focuses on assiduous preparation for the national university entrance exam, the gaokao, often at the expense of extracurricular activities.
About 400 overseas education agencies — including joint Chinese-foreign schools, language training centers and college application consulting agencies — are certified by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The ministry is affiliated with the two largest application consulting agencies in China, the China Center for International Education Exchange and Chivast Education International.