Studying abroad means a 'major' decision

Updated: 2014-05-01 12:13

By Huang Ying (China Daily)

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"The top three majors in the art area that are most popular among our student clients are architectural design, landscape design and industrial design," said Chao. "And 90 percent of the applicants are hoping to attend college in the United States."

In 2013, students applying for art-related subjects at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels accounted for 20 percent of all clients in Beijing, said Chao. The total number of clients in the city reached about 1,500 that year. He said the proportion will grow to 30 percent this year, based on what the agency has seen so far.

Chinese families have become better informed about art-related studies in the US. And they don't judge schools merely by rankings compiled by the media or other sources. Instead, they weigh the students' interests and the quality of campus life, said Chao.

"I think in the next three to five years, there will be a 10 to 15 percent increase annually in the number of students choosing an art-related major," said Chao.

"The tuition fees for art-related majors are actually about 10 percent higher than for 'mainstream' professions. I think the growing population of affluent Chinese students is leading to this situation," Yi said.

Students who decide to pursue this path in overseas colleges must prepare far in advance, more so than those choosing business-related professions, said Chao. "Usually, they must start planning in their sophomore year in high school and follow that plan strictly" if they hope to gain admission to the program of their choice.

Despite the rising interest in "creative" majors, the general trend in professional choices among Chinese overseas students is still heavily weighted in favor of "practical" courses.

Business administration, engineering and mathematics and computer science were the top three majors for Chinese students in the US between 2012 and 2013, according to the 2013 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange. The report is published annually by the Institute of International Education, with support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State.

According to the report, 29 percent of Chinese students in the US majored in business administration, the largest group of all, while 19.2 percent chose engineering and 11.2 percent went into mathematics and computer science.

Last year, there were 819,644 international students in the US, and 28.7 percent of them were from China - the largest single group.

The total number of Chinese students going abroad for education reached 413,900 in 2013, up 3.6 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Education.

As more Chinese students go abroad, it's getting harder for them to be admitted to their preferred schools. Higher test scores are needed in many cases, and it's an opportunity for the development of related services, such as language training and educational consulting agencies, said Yi.


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