With the rapidly changing international policies, what are the problems facing the internationalization of China’s basic education nowadays? How will Donald Trump’s coming into power impact Chinese students’ plans to study abroad? How can admissions counselors help students choose a school? How can we receive visits from admissions officers of overseas universities more efficiently? How do we improve students’ soft power when it comes to admissions applications? All these questions were discussed in depth at last week’s EMW held at the Kaiwen Academy.
Teresa Li, director of admissions counselors at Kaiwen presided over the conference.
From October 7 to October 8, 2017, the “5th East Meets West Conference” was held at the Beijing Kaiwen Academy (Haidian). This conference was hosted by Tsinghua University High School and organized by Kaiwen Academy (Haidian) for the first time as a member of the Tsinghua University High School International.
Admissions officers from over 20 well-known universities in the United States, Europe, and Japan, including Cornell University, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, Rice University, University of Southern California, and Paris College of Political Economics, and principals and admissions directors from over 60 well-known middle schools, including Tsinghua University High School, Beijing No.4 High School, Beijing National Day School, Beijing No.4 Middle School, and Beijing Keystone Academy, gathered at Kaiwen to discuss Chinese students’ applications for further studies abroad. This session of the “East Meets West Conference” staged two main forums and eight lectures. The “College Fair” held after the conference in the afternoon of October 8 attracted more than 150 families.
Wang Dianjun, principal of the Tsinghua University High School, made a keynote speech at the conference
Wang Dianjun, principal of the Tsinghua University High School, made a keynote speech at the October 7 conference. He said that China’s international schools have played a very important role in the internationalization process of China’s education. Tsinghua University High School has nearly 10 years’ experience in running international schools, which has made the school well versed in running such schools. The school has also been committed to international education research. At the conference, Principal Wang announced the findings of the latest survey—“Challenges for China’s International Schools.” He suggested countermeasures to meet these challenges from the perspectives of bilingual education, curriculum integration, management framework, teaching methods, and family-school relations. “In the future, while providing high-quality education to students who have the dream of studying abroad, we will also provide ordinary Chinese students with internationally advanced education to promote the internationalization of China’s education,” Principal Wang stressed.
Wang Shi, academic principal of Kaiwen Academy (Haidian) presided over Day 1 of the Principals Forum
Wang Shi, academic principal of Kaiwen Academy (Haidian) presided over Day 1 of the Principals Forum. Don Holder, executive principal of the Houde Academy, Wang Jiapeng, founder and chairman of the United World Colleges (Changshu, China), and Brantley Turner, the American principal of the Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School, shared their experience, as guest speakers, on promoting AP, IB, and A-level international courses in China. This year, Kaiwen’s AP courses have obtained the accreditation of the United States’ College Board. Principal Wang Shi, who has been studying college admissions counseling and internationalization of education for many years, said that every school will encounter difficulties in the internationalization of the school. Although Kaiwen is a new school, the school’s curriculum system is based on Tsinghua Univeristy High School International’s years of experience in running international schools. It is also based on China’s domestic curriculum standards and syllabus. We are exploring an international education path with Kaiwen’s characteristics.
The theme of the October 8 main forum was “Are Chinese Students Still Welcome under Trump’s America?” Bruce Hammond, director of admissions counseling at Tsinghua Univeristy High School International, presided over the forum. Chris Davey, admissions director of the University of Chicago, Jesse Tomcazk, deputy admissions director of Rice University, and Dun Ning, admissions director of Daemen College participated in the panel discussion. Dun Ning noted that Trump’s tightened immigration policy will have an impact on obtaining the employment internship visa for all international students, not just Chinese students. But the impact varies depending on the student’s major. In terms of OPT, OPT under the STEM major is still a good choice. Guests also pointed out that, in addition to the United States, Canada and Australia are also good options.
Relevant discussions were conducted at the eight sub-forums held on the same day after the main forums ended. The sub-forums were focused on topics concerning college admissions, such as “how to better demonstrate students’ soft power in the application process”; “how to help students make a personalized university application list”; “university interview skills”; and “how can high schools receive the visits of foreign universities more effectively?” Admissions officers also shared a lot of useful information. University of Chicago, Cornell University, and other universities all made on-site analysis based on their actual admission cases. InitialView founder Gloria Chyou shared a large number of interview application cases and her years of interview experience.
The atmosphere was very lively at the forums with active interaction between experts and the audience. At the end of the forums, over 20 participating universities attended the College Fair held at the Kaiwen Academy (Haidian). Despite the heavy rain that day, over 150 families came early and lined up for the fair. They all cherished the valuable opportunity of one-on-one communication with admissions officers of elite universities.
Scene of the College Fair
During the conference, Kaiwen students were both participants and volunteers. Tim, a Kaiwen student in the 11th grade, said that through the one-on-one communication with admissions officials, he got to know the specific requirements of foreign universities and that suitableness, rather than ranking, is the most important thing when it comes to choosing a foreign university. He now knows his goals and where he should make the effort more clearly than ever.
Chinese students usually prepare for the language test for studying abroad in September and November of each year. Admissions officers of foreign universities also tend to make frequent overseas visits for enrollment promotions. Since the beginning of the new school year, Kaiwen has received 14 college admissions interviewers. Just in the past week, admissions officers of Drexel University and Syracuse University in the United States visited Kaiwen Academy (Haidian).