A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Buying a College-Town Apartment—While Junior Is Still in Diapers, reports that wealthy Chinese parents are purchasing high-end real estate in college towns to increase their children’s chances of studying abroad. As an education consulting firm, our company has worked with many families from China who are looking to send their children to the U.S. for education. The entire focus of these families is to get their child into one of the Ivy schools. Unfortunately, many of these families do not understand the culture of American education. One of our most difficult challenges is to help them understand that the concept of focusing exclusively on only eight (8) schools is out-dated. Unlike the American belief that there are many pathways to success, many Chinese families believe the only pathway is through the Ivies.
Chinese parents and students are eager to set a direction early on and then just stick with it. This is also encouraged by their education system, where students have to declare their major when they take their college entrance exam and switching majors is almost impossible. There is also cultural pressure to pursue a career with a clear and direct path to success. Historically, Chinese people have always emphasized the importance of learning and education. This attitude has been part of a distilled cultural tradition which exerts a huge influence on the educational mentality of the Chinese. It is common for Chinese families to choose to support their children to receive further and better education at the expense of a lower living standard on the part of other family members. The examples shown in this article takes that practice to a new level with upper class families.
Karen Holloman, The School Choice Group