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College entrance consultation services emerge in China

(People's Daily Online)    17:05, June 06, 2019

China’s National College Entrance Examination, commonly known as Gaokao, is getting closer. Over the next two days, people’s common perception of China being a boisterous country will be shattered. The whole nation will be immersed in hushed tones, expectation and anxiety, with anxiety dominating, only for this critical examination.

An annual occurrence, the gaokao is the sole determinant for admission to Chinese universities. The test result will decide what universities an examinee can attend, and consequently, determine whether he or she will find a well-paid job in the future. The competition is fierce. About three in five students will make the cut in this silent battle, while only one out of 20 will gain access to the top universities in China.

Though test results matter the most when it comes to college enrollment, students must choose wisely when filling in their form listing their preferred colleges. Every college will have a lowest intake score which varies year to year, and if students meet the requirement, they will be admitted. Otherwise, they will be rejected and passed on to another nominated school to repeat the process. The lowest intake scores are typically released after students fill in their list, making the final result rather unpredictable.

“Filling out the application form is a tedious task. Even though you can obtain good results in your tests, failing to choose the right university can still lead to bad results,” said Wang Zhiming, a parent in Beijing whose daughter is going to take this year’s gaokao.

To help parents and students fill out their application forms correctly, a new gaokao consultation service has emerged in China. According to statistics from Securities Times, there are over 400 companies offering gaokao consultation services, while Bainianyingcai, a leading power in this area, generated an income of over 117 million yuan in 2018.

Based on the official websites of these companies, students must go through an evaluation to determine their academic interests and talents before the consultation. Once a report is generated and their test results are released, educational experts will either talk to clients face to face, or communicate online, to help them fill in their application forms.

Some companies have even introduced big data and artificial intelligence into their evaluation process, claiming that with their professional assistance, 99 percent of their students can get into their dream school.

The consultation costs also vary between different companies. Sina Education, a leading online education platform in China, provides expert consultation that can cost as much as 50,000 yuan, while the cheapest service costs around 3,000 yuan.

“With the help of such platforms, we have a better chance of filling in the application forms wisely, but the cost is unaffordable. I have chosen another online service which only costs 500 yuan, and it has been really helpful,” said Wang.

Though few parents have resorted to using these services so far, experts have expressed their optimism on the emerging industry, noting that the industry can further provide professional opinions for young students to better plan for study, or even for their career.

“In addition to gaokao consultation, I think our service can also cover study and career planning in universities, helping students fulfill their dreams. Such consultation services could become the norm in the future,” Wang Yong, a gaokao consultation specialist in Shenyang, told Securities Times.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Hongyu)

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