With Eye on U.S. Colleges, Chinese Pupils Come Early

The New York Times reports on the growing trend of well-to-do young Chinese students attending preparatory schools in New York City in effort to gain the upper-hand when later applying to U.S. universities. By introducing a few of Léman Manhattan Preparatory School‘s Chinese pupils, the Times gives an idea of the struggles that students, teachers, and classmates sometimes face, and also of the mutually beneficial relationship between host school and overseas student:

New York City private schools have always been the province of the city’s young and wealthy, students whose home lives and educations can inspire both disdain and envy. But these students are the children of Shanghai real estate magnates, shipping giants, luxury hotel owners and doctors from coastal regions bordering the East China Sea. They are also part of a small, but growing, cadre of teenagers from wealthy families in China who are attending school in New York City.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 638 with visas attended high schools in the city in 2012, up from 114 five years earlier.

The influx has not been seamless. But the schools — particularly ones with lagging enrollment — have actively sought an international component and parents who can pay full tuition, even if that means accepting students who speak limited English. Chinese students and their parents have seen the schools as a way to gain an advantage on the thousands of students at home who apply to United States colleges every year. They are also availing themselves of a more well-rounded educational model than they find in China, including that decidedly American college application line-item: extracurricular activities.

[…] In September, Léman welcomed 27 Chinese students, about one-fifth of the population, and 10 students from other countries. 

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Similarly, many U.S. universities have found a partial answer to budget crises in students from wealthy Chinese families, and Chinese college students and the universities that host them have also met with challenges. Also see prior CDT coverage of Chinese students studying abroad.