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Foreign universities consider Gaokao scores

Chinese high school graduatesIn recent years, many Chinese high school graduates have pursued higher education abroad rather than attending university in China. That means they do not have to take the National College Entrance Exam as do their peers who wish to go to college in China.

But nowadays, more Chinese students are taking the National College Entrance Exam even if they do not plan to attend a Chinese university, hoping that a good score will make them more competitive when applying to overseas universities.

Zhang Wan takes a closer look.

Huo Chenkun is a high school graduate in Beijing. He took the National College Entrance Exam this year, but he submitted an application to study at the University of Pittsburgh. Now he has received an admission notice from the U.S. university.

“Preparing for study abroad while taking the National College Entrance Exam gave me one more possible way out and more opportunities to make a better choice.”

Media reports say many Chinese students who have taken the National College Entrance Exam have not applied to colleges here, while the number of students who have pursued higher education abroad has increased annually by 20 percent.

Liu Xiaodan, head of an education agency, says she has witnessed the increase.

“Since the National College Entrance Exam ended, 30 percent of the number of consultations we received has been from high school graduates who took the exam.”

According to the American Association of International Education, the number of Chinese students studying at U.S. universities rose to 150,000 during the 2010-2011 school year. And the number of Chinese students who were pursuing bachelor’s degrees in the U. S. during the same school year had increased about 42 percent compared to the previous year.

In addition, more Chinese students are registering to take the American Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, which is the nation’s most widely used college admission exam. Many of the students who take the exam come from top high schools in China.

Guo Hui, head of another education agency talks about the changes she has seen in recent years.

“Five years ago, almost 80 percent of Chinese students who turned to pursue higher education abroad were those who didn’t get very good scores on the National College Entrance Exam. But today more students who apply for overseas study are from prestigious high schools in China.”

Currently, more overseas universities, like some from Canada, and France have begun to recognize China’s National College Entrance Exam by using the scores as a gauge when evaluating Chinese applicants. The University of Sydney, for example, starts recognizing scores from China’s National College Entrance Exam this year.

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