Because many Chinese students have trouble making sense of the American admissions process, a huge industry of education agents has arisen in China to help guide them — and, in some cases, to do whatever it takes to get them accepted.
This fall, David Zhu will join an exodus of Chinese students boarding planes for the leafy, beer-soaked campuses of American colleges and universities. Zhu, currently a student at Shanghai’s prestigious Fudan University, will be enrolling at Oregon State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business — a dream his parents have had since they started saving a $157,000 nest egg for his education. But like many Chinese students who don’t speak English fluently, Zhu might not have been accepted without a little help. The 21-year-old hired an education agent in China to clean up and “elaborate” on the essay he submitted as part of his application. “Actually, the agency helped my application to some extent,” he says.
Stories like Zhu’s are becoming increasingly common as the ranks of Chinese students going abroad for college continue to swell. Because many Chinese students have only basic knowledge of foreign universities and have trouble making sense of complicated applications, a huge industry of education agents has arisen in the country to help guide them — and, in some cases, to do whatever it takes to get them accepted. This has created a thorny ethical dilemma in the U.S. While many American schools are elated by the influx of Chinese students as they’ve scrimped and saved to make ends meet in the economic downturn, some educators worry that the reliance of Chinese students on agents has led to some unintended — and troubling — consequences.
READ MORE: Click belowthe original article from Time , written by Justin Bergman