"They are not asking new questions. They are not posing new problems," says Megan Wang of Chinese students coming to the United States for undergraduate study. "It's a question of scale. There are more of them than ever before."
Wang is the associate director of undergraduate admission at the University of Southern California (USC), and she, like many other professionals working with international students and scholars, has seen a significant increase in the number of Chinese high school students applying to universities and colleges in the United States. She says that undergraduate applications to USC from China have increased steadily in the past few years, topping out at over 2,200 applicants. "I am hoping that it might start to stabilize," she says, noting that further increases would not be surprising.
Wang will copresent a NAFSA webinar on September 12 titled "Today's Chinese Student: What Really Matters." Wang works mainly in admissions and recruitment while her copresenter, Sufei Li, organizes exchange programs for Chinese university students.
As the national coordinator for the 1+2+1 Dual-Degree Program facilitated by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Chinese Center for International Education Exchange (AASCU/CCIEE), Li has more knowledge of the Chinese student experience in the United States. "My main responsibilities lie with working with students all through the admission process. Once they arrive on campus, we have many other offices and staff working with them, be it academic advising or student visa. I think Sufei and I can cover the two aspects quite well and leverage each other's knowledge," says Wang.
With information about the students' mentalities in selecting and applying to colleges, as well as the social, economic and cultural forces that shape these students' needs and concerns when living on campus, this webinar will benefit anyone who has met challenges working with this new wave of Chinese students and those who have never worked with this demographic.
And the webinar comes at the perfect time. As the new school year begins and Chinese students arrive on campus, admissions professionals are also preparing for trips to recruit the next round of students. "We're doing it in early September, hopefully before most of the admissions folks are on the ground or leaving the country to do their recruiting. We hoping to do it right before so that people can go recruit with a bit more knowledge. This is also ideal time for those working in student advising or international student offices as they start working with a new cohort."
Wang, who has presented several sessions and workshops at NAFSA conferences, is looking forward to the opportunity to host her first webinar. "I am excited to present to so many people because… a webinar like this could draw up to the thousands, and it is great spread the message." Wang also points out that the knowledge shared in this webinar will also help professionals deal with future waves of international applicants from other regions of the world. "The good thing is that whatever lessons we can learn from working with these Chinese students will be very useful when we face similar groups of students from India, Brazil, Russia… who may be the next China."
Join Wang and Li on September 12 for this engaging and informative webinar tailored for international educators working with Chinese students. NAFSA is excited to bring you this event as the first in a series of webinars focused on China. Register by September 6.