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Racing for places at schools

By Cheng Yingqi (China Daily)

09:08, May 21, 2012

Chinese interest in entering US high schools has grown so much in recent years that schools have had to raise their thresholds for candidates.

The number of Chinese students at private US high schools rose more than 100 times, from 65 in 2005 to 6,725 in 2010, according to the US Department of Homeland Security.

The Association of Boarding Schools, a nonprofit association in the US, estimates that its 257 member schools have places for nearly 14,500 international students, 27 percent of which are currently occupied by Chinese students.

Steve Banks, director of operations for the association, said: "We have a few schools whose total boarding population is predominately Chinese, exceeding 60 percent."

He estimates that international boarders, on average, make up 30 percent of the entire boarding school population. Approximately 8 percent of all boarding students, international and domestic, are Chinese.

"In the year 2005, when I began to place my main emphasis on high school applicants, my friends in other agencies thought it was a stupid idea because the market was really small then," said Shi Yiru, general manager of the Shanghai office of Haiyi Immigration and Education Group, a Canadian immigration company.

"As Chinese families become rich, more and more parents send their children abroad as early as possible, to have a better chance of enrolling in top US universities," Shi said.

Shi has organized meetings for US high schools and Chinese students and parents every year since 2005. At first, only five US schools sent representatives to the meetings. Seventy came in 2006.

"The year 2009 and 2010 saw the most schools attending the fair. But in the last two years, the schools' interest waned because most of them already had too many Chinese students," Shi said.

"Most boarding schools want diversity among their international students. They do not want students from any country to dominate the population.

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