June 08, 2015

"While figures aren’t made public, online test prep company ArborBridge estimates that some 55,000 Chinese took the SAT last year."

Foreign Policy That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 9.42 million who sat for the multi-day test starting June 7, even adding in those Chinese who take Britain’s A-level exams. By Alexa Olesen

'But it reflects an increasingly international view of education for Chinese young people, not to mention their parents. Whereas there was once only one path to higher education for most Chinese, now more young people have a choice.

'When Xiao arrived as a freshman in 2008, 868 Chinese students attended Columbia. Across the United States, there were 24,248 Chinese undergraduates. Fast forward to today: The latest statistics from Columbia show the Chinese student population at the school had swelled to 2,849 by the fall of 2013. Nationwide, as of 2014, there were 143,571 Chinese men and women pursuing bachelor’s degrees in the United States, according to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program under the Department of Homeland Security. That marks a 20-fold increase since 2005 when just 6,942 Chinese undergraduates were studying stateside. During the same time period, the numbers of Chinese master’s students in America increased six-fold to 130,748. Doctoral student numbers also grew, though much more modestly.

'Shiny Wang, director of college counseling at Beijing No. 4 High School’s international campus, traces the fever for study abroad among Chinese high school students to 2009, when College Board, the nonprofit organization that administers the SAT and Advanced Placement Program, established test centers in China for the Advanced Placement, or AP, test. (There are numerous AP tests, which are more specialized than the SAT.) Wang’s school, Beijing No. 4, established an international track in 2011 to “meet the needs of the kids who can’t balance gaokao and test-prep/overseas college study and excel in both,” he said via email. The new international track had 90 seniors the first year. This year, there are 150 seniors in the program, Wang said.'

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