Chinese applicants to US down

Updated: 2013-09-03 10:45

By Yu Wei in San Francisco (China Daily)

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Chinese applicants to US down

Fewer Chinese students applied to US graduate schools for the 2012/2013 academic year, but more were accepted than in the previous year, according to a report.

The number of applications from Chinese students declined 3 percent, while admission offers to prospective Chinese students grew by 5 percent, the eighth consecutive year of increases, and 40 percent of all admission offers from graduate schools went to Chinese students, according to the Council of Graduate Schools, an organization of more than 500 institutions of higher education in the US and Canada.

"The US receives many more applications from highly qualified international students - including those from China - than our graduate institutions can possibly admit," Debra Stewart, the president of the council, told China Daily. "What is important is that we continue to receive strong numbers of applications from highly qualified Chinese students, and we are hopeful this will continue."

The decline in applications from Chinese students was mirrored by a 2 percent decline in the overall growth of applications from international students to US graduate schools, lower than the gains of 9 percent in 2012 and 11 percent in 2011, according to the council. However, offers of admission increased 9 percent from 2012 to 2013, the fourth consecutive year of growth in international graduate admissions.

Concerns have been raised that the increasing number of admission of Chinese students and the decreasing application number could lower the quality of Chinese students enrolled.

"That is a long-term risk we need to consider, but at this point quality remains very high," Stewart said. "The size of the Chinese applicant pool is so large that even with sustained decreases it would take many years before quality became a serious challenge to US graduate schools recruiting in China."

Although specific reasons for the decline in applications from Chinese students are impossible to explain from the US vantage point, Stewart said year-to-year there are fluctuations in applications and admissions among countries sending students to US graduate schools.

For example, admission offers to students from India, the second-leading supplier of graduate students to the US, rose 27 percent.

Chinese students have flooded US colleges and universities in recent years, making up about one-third of all international graduate students in the US. China, India, South Korea are the top countries for graduate students in the US.

The University of California, Berkeley accepted 435 Chinese graduate applicants in 2012/2013 academic year, more than one-fifth of its 2,077 graduate students and making China the largest origin of international graduate students at Berkeley.

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