The population of Chinese students in the US has soared in recent years, the Washington Post reports, driven by a US reputation for top-notch education and an expanding Chinese middle class. For years, Chinese undergrads in the US numbered about 9,000; in 2007, that figure surged to some 16,000. “People just think the education offered in the US is undoubtedly the best in the world,” said one student.
As applications increase, admissions officers are faced with a positive dilemma: whom to admit among countless high-achieving students. The average verbal SAT score at one top Chinese high school was 2100 out of 2400, even with the language difference—and most students got the top score of 800 in math, says a school official. “It's this perfect, beautiful island of people who are immensely motivated,” said a US admissions officer.