From China to the US for Higher Studies

Source: 1843 magazine, Mar 2016

The competition to get into elite American universities has become so fierce that wealthy Chinese families prepare their children at ever younger ages. Shang Learning, which trains 9- to 15-year-olds, charges about $23,000 to guide students through the year of their applications to boarding schools.

Most of the students also choose from a series of à la carte courses in topics such as “reading and writing” or “interview prep”, with each two-hour session costing nearly $400. That might seem like some expensive small talk, but Nini Suet, the effervescent founder of Shang Learning, says that a student’s poise and presentation during an admissions interview can make all the difference in getting accepted into a top boarding school – and, ultimately, into an elite university.

According to admissions experts, Ivy League universities are taking a higher percentage of mainland Chinese students from elite boarding schools than from Chinese schools.

“The essay process can be painful, but it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to examine my life,” she says. “The students who get agents to do everything may get into good universities, but they miss a very precious journey.”

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