More students look to US for grad school

Updated: 2011-08-25 07:37

By Chen Jia (China Daily)

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BEIJING - For Duan Can, a graduate in electronic engineering from the Beijing Institute of Technology, a half year of work on an graduate-school application has brought offers to attend three leading US universities.

"The biggest surprise was the offer from Stanford University because it only admits the most talented Chinese students every year," she said.

In the end, she decided to go to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. One reason for her choice was that she received a full scholarship to attend the school, which is more commonly known as Virginia Tech. The assistance will let her avoid draining her parents' money while she works for five years on a doctorate degree.

Virginia Tech was not the only school to offer a full scholarship; she has also got one from the University of Florida.

Some agencies that help Chinese study overseas are seeing leading US universities make a record number of admission offers for doctorate programs this year.

"We are so surprised and happy to see so many admission offers pouring in from Stanford University, New York University and Columbia University," said Zhang Meng, senior manager of CACDIY International, an agency that helps Chinese study overseas.

"If Chinese students only have admission offers, that means they have to pay all of their tuition and living fees," he said. "I guess US universities want to attract more Chinese students, who brought in a large amount of money this year.

"Chinese students who have more than two offers, regardless of their money situation, simply have more choices."

The biggest headache for agencies that help Chinese students study abroad used to be that their rich clients would come to them with impractical aspirations to be admitted into well-known universities.

Their wealth has since made attending such places easier, since it prevents them from having to rely on scholarships to afford tuition, he said.

"I feel so relieved when our clients can choose among several offers," he said.

On Aug 16, the Council of Graduate Schools, a US organization that promotes graduate education and research, released the International Graduate Admissions Survey, which looks at admissions trends. According to it, the number of Chinese applicants to US graduate schools increased by 21 percent from this past school year and the number of offers being made to prospective Chinese students increased by 23 percent.

This is the sixth year in a row that those percentages have increased by double digits, the report said.

"Expensive tuition fees are not a big problem for me," said Liang Shuang, a graduate from the Beijing Jiaotong University. "And the opportunity to study at Stanford will not be around for another year."

Liang this year received an admissions offer from Stanford, where she can pursue a master's degree in environmental engineering.

"My dreams have always been more important than making money, and I like being able to choose between offers," she said.

More and more Chinese students, seeing their number of options have increased, now have greater expectations.

Xia Chaolun, a graduate from Zhejiang University, said that of all the offers he has received, he is only considering those coming from US universities that are ranked among the 20 best such institutions and that will give him a full scholarship.

"I got an offer to study computer science at Cornell on a full scholarship," he said.

According to CACDIY International, scholarships to study computer science or engineering are the hardest for Chinese students to obtain when they are applying for graduate schools.