Fraud frenzy Chinese pursue United States college admission at any price
A 21 year old student, Jessica Zhang from Jiangsu Province says her English was not strong enough to fill in her U.S. college admission for.
Her parents therefore paid 3 consultants $ 4,500 to fill the application, write a personal essay for her as well as teacher recommendation letters.
Also, they made arrangements for her visa and communicated with her prospective colleges-8 ranked between forty and one hundred on the United States News and World Report College rankings.
Zhang, (not her real name) says, ‘It would have been too much hassle if I had applied myself,”
In August, Zhang will begin her undergraduate career with an open major at a university in Midwestern, U.S. She says she is not aware that her application could be considered as fraudulent and get her expelled.
With English fluency promise, U.S. college education has become increasingly attractive for a large number of employers and students. And as income in China grow, it becomes more affordable for parents.
Using consultancies or agents for college application has been a common practice since United States colleges and universities begun recruiting in China extensively about 8 years ago.
In most cases, they provide the much needed advice and assistance to Chinese students and their parents who know very little on how to navigate complexities of U.S. college admissions, says YU Huiming, a freelance educational consultant.
Admission in China is based on a single test-hence majority are baffled by the need for extracurricular activities, and Yu says most Chinese high school students are not able to write recommendation letters in English.
“For average high school students, if their parents do not have knowledge of college application, they do need help from a third party,” he says.
According to the Institute of International Education, Chinese students now make almost one in three international students in American campuses.
However, there are growing concerns these agencies-many unregulated-are going further than simply extending a helping hand.
The director of International Initiatives at the National Association for College Admission Counselling (NACAC), Eddie West says higher education-related fraud is a “significant concern” for majority of admission officers.
“It’s a huge problem. Understanding the true scope of the activity is inherently difficult because it is clandestine”, he says- though he notes the fraud isn’t limited to China.
One of the educational agencies that is best known in China, New Oriental Vision Overseas Consulting and the one used by Zhang says on its website that students must write their own personal essays.
But Zhang insists that during her conversations with 3 of its consultants, who promised to refund her money if she was not admitted into any of the schools, this was never mentioned.
“I did feel slightly guilty but all my friends did the same thing,” she says- http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/12/asia/china-education-agencies/index.html (follow this link for more information).
As Jessica Zhang prepared for college life in the United States, she says she is both excited and anxious.
Recently, she heard that she will face an additional English-language test upon arrival on campus.
In the event she fails any of the 4 parts, she will have to take extra language classes which will delay her graduation.
“I’m afraid the test will show my true colors,” she says.