In this article, we will explore why applying strategies from China can be beneficial for your US university application.
Section One: China’s Examination-Oriented Education and the Fierce Competition in US University Applications
In China, standardized high scores are a norm due to the emphasis on examination-oriented education. The Chinese education system revolves around the Gaokao (national college entrance examination) and Zhongkao (junior high school entrance examination), with Gaokao scores determining students’ university prospects. Each university has its own score requirements, and students must meet the corresponding criteria to gain admission. As of June 15, 2023, there are a total of 3,072 higher education institutions in China, including only 1,275 undergraduate colleges.
Statistics from the Ministry of Education indicate that a staggering 12.91 million students registered for the 2023 Gaokao, an increase of 980,000 from the previous year, setting a new record. To stand out amidst fierce competition, Chinese students start preparing for the Gaokao and Zhongkao from an early age, making examination-oriented education deeply ingrained in Chinese society.
Moreover, even those not participating in China’s domestic application process still immerse themselves in standardized tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, and ACT to achieve scores of SAT 1570+ or ACT 34+. College Board data shows that Asian students, particularly from China, account for the highest percentage (27%) of SAT scores ranging from 1400 to 1600 globally. Since China boasts the largest population of international students, it is evident that Chinese students are striving for high standardized scores.
Some may argue that standardized test scores are just one factor in university applications, and comprehensive strength matters more. However, US university admissions officers seek diversity and choose students from various regions worldwide. Considering that most Chinese students strive for high scores, this becomes a crucial aspect of their applications.
Section Two: The Importance of Creativity in China’s Highly Competitive Environment and Its Relevance to US University Applications
In China’s competitive environment, a student with low standardized test scores may fall behind or face significant disadvantages when competing with peers for the same university spot.
Given that high standardized scores are prevalent, students must find other ways to attract admissions officers’ attention. Besides aiming for high standardized test scores, students need to showcase excellence in extracurricular activities and competitions. Many students actively participate in volunteering activities, displaying their care for society and others.
US university admissions officers seek not only high-scoring students but also those with the potential to become well-rounded individuals. Therefore, students who demonstrate a diverse range of personal experiences and pursue excellence stand out in US university applications.
Section Three: Crafting a Unique Application: Another Challenge for Chinese Students Applying to US Universities
Outstanding application materials should highlight a student’s individuality and talent while standing out from the rest. For instance, some Chinese students showcase outstanding achievements in scientific research in their application essays, demonstrating unique insights and research accomplishments. Others use video presentations to showcase their talents in fields such as music, dance, and theater, captivating admissions officers with their artistic charm.
To achieve this, Chinese university application agencies explore various innovative methods to help students create personalized resumes that are impressive without becoming mundane or template-like.
To outshine regional competitors, Chinese students must excel in standardized tests and create an impressive application portfolio. Both excellent scores and personalized applications are essential. In the forthcoming series of articles, we will guide you in US university applications, focusing on personalized applications and standardized test score improvement while sharing valuable application experiences.