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Are Chinese Students Cheating Their Way Into U.S. Colleges?

Robert Stitt

According to CNN, there are almost 300,000 Chinese students enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States. In fact, Chinese students account for 31 percent, or nearly 1 in 3 of every international students on our campuses. The concern is not that the students are Chinese, but that many of them gamed the system to get here, are not qualified to be in the school they are at, and took a seat from a much more qualified student.

Because English is such an important language in the global business community, and United States universities are leaders in many academic fields, the allure of an American education is highly enticing. So much so that more and more international families are willing to pay a lot of money to circumvent the admissions process.

Many of the Chinese students do not have the foundational English skills required for admission, or may not have the test scores, essay writing skills, or extra-curricular activities that the universities desire. The answer: the student’s parents hire a company to fake the admissions package. For a fee – the better the university, the higher the fee – a company will write the student’s admissions essay, fill out the forms, write teacher recommendation letters, even carry on conversations with the university on behalf of the student. While this problem is not just with Chinese students, because of their numbers, the issue is magnified.

Sadly, the system was set up for the students’ protection, and when the system is not used, students show up on campus without the skills they were supposed to have had. Some of these students are able to get extra help and make it through, but others end up getting in trouble, can’t keep their grades up, or get caught up in academic dishonesty. Those that are caught are expelled, but estimates are that since 2013 only 8,000 of the many hundreds of thousands of students have faced this punishment.

The universities “want Chinese parents and students to know that it’s a big issue that a lot of Chinese students don’t succeed academically in the U.S.”. Still, with the numbers stacked in their favor, and nearly 400 educational consulting firms that are licensed by the Chinese Ministry of Education who are ready to help students get into US schools, it is an uphill battle. CNN found that many “parents paid $3,000 to $40,000 to agents that promise to get their children into universities and colleges overseas.” The parents gladly paid the fees, after all, to them the potential rewards greatly outweigh the risks and costs.


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One thought on “Are Chinese Students Cheating Their Way Into U.S. Colleges?

  1. cranberry man

    This has been going on for a while. In highschools, too. I went to a pretty highly ranked IB high school in Chicago, and there was definitely a bias toward foreign kids as far as admission to the IB program. My siblings were in IB, but I wasn’t and I noticed there were only 4 African American students in the program. I heard about kids in the program who drink, get high, and fail classes and aren’t dropped. Schools will let anybody in if it benefits them. Whether they want to appear more diverse by only admitting foreign students, or they just want a quick $10,000.


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