World / China-US

New admission proposal worries Chinese in US

(People's Daily Online/ Updated: 2016-02-04 13:27

New admission proposal worries Chinese in US

Dai Chengxin (2nd right), a Chinese students in Harvard, takes part in a rugby match. (File photo)

Chinese living in the US are questioning the latest college admission reform initiated by Harvard.

Affected by policies such as affirmative action and Senate Constitutional Amendment No 5, Chinese students are now worried that they will face discrimination under the new proposal that places more emphasis on work done with communities over academic performance.

Although the goal of affirmative action is to provide admissions and jobs without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin, many critics claim the policy favors those with weaker qualifications over better students. The Senate Constitutional Amendment No 5 faces similar charges.

Chinese and other Asians attach more importance to exams. When it comes to social activities, these students are constrained to music-related ones, said Li Fu, a professor from the Portland State University.

Zhong Ming, who has two children, said that large number of Chinese parents save money to give their children better education. However, it is much more difficult for Chinese to receive good education in the US, not to mention entering the mainstream society.

As to why some universities are supporting this plan, some Chinese hold the view that due to low enrollment rate of native students, famous universities in the US want to find a way to diversify their enrollment.

However, Li said that the reform itself is not discriminatory.

Universities and colleges should pay more attention to students' responsibility to others and their communities rather than simply value their exam results, a report by Harvard said.

The report, entitled Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good Through College Admissions by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, takes a major step in trying to change the college admissions process to make it more humane, less super-human.

More than 80 stakeholders from first-tier colleges and universities, including admissions officers (like Harvard's), deans, professors and high school counselors have endorsed the proposal.

Yale University will be adding an essay question on next year's application that will ask applicants "to reflect on engagement with and contribution to their family, community and/or the public good."

A staff member in charge of student admission from Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that students spend too much time on exams and "we do not want those who only want to be enrolled in a prestigious school."

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