Another Year Come & Gone…

It’s May again, ain’t it? Freshman undergraduate decisions have been mailed out, transfer decisions have been emailed, and you’re looking forward to all of YOUR big decisions ahead. Sitting there all pretty and content though, you might not know what a momentous year this was for Chinese students going abroad.

This was the single most competitive year for western university admissions in history. Why? Mainly because of all the hordes of brilliant Chinese students applying. A recent Washington Post article told how ten years ago, only 17 Chinese students applied to the University of Virginia. Three years ago – 117. In 2009? More than 800.

Even more interesting, now elite Chinese international students aren’t only coming from Shanghai and Beijing. My own students here in Shenzhen have been admitted to Yale, Columbia, Chicago, Vanderbilt, Middlebury, Emory, UVA, Michigan, Northwestern, Rhodes, and many more. Friends of my students and readers of this column have been admitted to Harvard, Berkeley, Washington Univ. of St. Louis, Cornell and UNC. Shenzhen, my friends, is looming large on the map of academia.

It’s my opinion that Shenzhen will soon become the most highly represented Chinese city among elite western academic institutions. The 90s generation in Shenzhen has been exposed to progressive, open modes of thought and interaction, helping them dig their feet into a wholly unique piece of the world. If this year’s admissions statistics are any indication, that piece of the world is going to get bigger and bigger.

Parke Muth, director of admissions at UVA told the Washington Post that “it’s this perfect, beautiful island of people who are immensely motivated, going to great high schools.” That quote was listed right next to a picture of two students from Shenzhen.

As our local high schools, the local government, and foreign universities develop new and profound ways to cooperate over the next decade, you can bet your behind that this trend is going to continue. Our funny little city of electronics and shipping containers is going to wake up and realize that it’s a city of thinkers.

*Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/30/AR2009043004132.html?hpid=artslot

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