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More Chinese opt to study at overseas universities

2014-06-09 10:17 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan

Education system abroad a major attraction for affluent families

Unlike 9.39 million high school graduates nationwide, Tao Ziqian did not take part in this year's national college entrance exam over the weekend.

Tao, 18, skipped the exam — which many Chinese students and their parents consider a crucial, life-changing event —because he has been accepted at the College of Arts and Sciences of Cornell University in New York state.

Tao is a senior at the international department of Beijing National Day School. While in his early teens, he decided to pursue undergraduate studies abroad instead of entering a domestic university.

"I'm interested in economics and philosophy. I think I can learn more about these subjects in universities overseas than in domestic ones," he said.

Tao is not alone. In Beijing, many renowned public high schools, including Beijing No 2 Middle School, Beijing No 4 Middle School and Beijing National Day School, set up international departments for students who aim to study overseas.

At the international department of Beijing National Day School, 100 to 200 students are admitted each year.

During the three years of senior high school education, these students study US high school curricula under the Advanced Placement program or take the UK's General Certificate of Education Advanced Level exams, and the US' SAT and Test of English as a Foreign Language to help them apply for universities overseas.

Apart from the public schools, many private schools in the city, such as Beijing Royal School, Beijing Huijia Private School and National Institute of Technology, also prepare high school students for overseas higher education.

The number of Chinese high school students who choose overseas universities over domestic ones has been increasing in recent years.

The Open Doors Report, a report on international educational exchange published annually by the US Institute of International Education, showed that in the 2009-10 academic year, 127,628 Chinese students were studying in the US, 31.3 percent of them at the undergraduate level.

Both figures have increased since.

In the 2012-13 academic year, 235,597 Chinese students studied in the US, and 39.8 percent of them were undergraduates.

Wang Jing, director of consultants of Chivast Education International, an overseas study consultancy in Beijing, said the trend has been apparent for at least the past five years.

Wang said students and their parents tend to make such choices not only because more Chinese families are getting rich and can afford the high education costs in the US, but also because they appreciate the US education system more as they get increasingly familiar with it.

Wang believes the trend will continue as "the advanced education in countries like the US will have a long-lasting attraction to Chinese students and their parents".

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