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Exam over, time to seek backup options
By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-06-09 08:27

Parties, carefree vacations and maybe a brief summer romance: high school graduates have begun a three-month holiday after finishing the national college entrance examination Monday.

Exam over, time to seek backup options
University aspirants walk out of the No 6 High School in Wuhan, Hubei province, after finishing the morning session of their college entrance exam Monday. [Zhou Chao] 
But for those who failed to perform as well as they had hoped in the make-or-break test, the summer months are also a time to look at opportunities for education abroad.

Many parents were holding flyers from foreign language training centers as they waited outside local examination centers yesterday.

"I suppose 60 to 70 percent of these parents wish their kids could study overseas if they could afford it," Qiu Chunhua, the father of a student sitting for the examination at the Middle School of Renmin University of China, told China Daily yesterday.

Chinese parents like Qiu believe that if their children do not get into top universities or study popular majors, they will face big difficulties finding jobs after graduation.

They believe that studying overseas will give their students an edge when looking for jobs back home.

More than 10.2 million students sat for the exam this year and about 60 percent will get into university thanks to the expansion of China's higher education system.

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Yin Kai, an education expert from Chivast Education International Company, said the demand for better education and limited places at China's few prestigious universities force students to look at their study options abroad when the examination is over.

He said many advertisements for English language training and overseas study consultation are placed in local media at this time.

On June 13-15, the Beijing International Education Expo will be held at the China International Expo Center to provide information about overseas study.

The number of high school graduates studying abroad has increased steadily since 2005. Last year, about 180,000 Chinese students studied at overseas universities, nearly half of those were high school students.

The eight most popular destinations are the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Netherlands.

Spain, Italy and South Korea are also becoming more popular among Chinese high school students in recent years.

But Yin warns that Chinese students and their parents should be cautious when choosing the country and major.

"Do research, consult with professionals and avoid illegal agencies," he said.

There have been numerous reports of illegal agencies overcharging students, faking the application documents or running away with the money.

"I have heard of many such cases and I am afraid of being deceived by those lousy agencies when getting my son study overseas," the father Qiu said.

Qin Zhongwei contributed to the story