Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Old story, different hemisphere

More good work from American Public Media's Marketplace:
Rob Schmitz: If you walk down the street in Shanghai, it's hard to miss the advertisements for college placement agencies. In big bold letters, they promise -- some even guarantee -- your child's admission to an American university. The price: $5,000, $6,000, sometimes $7,000.

Jiang Xueqin is a well-known education reformer in China. He also heads the International division at Peking University High School -- one of China's best high schools. He has followed college placement agencies for years. He says this is how many of them deliver on their admission promises: they falsify students application materials.

Jiang Xueqin: There's a lot of pressure on the agencies to write the application essays, to fake transcripts, to fake recommendation letters. This is just general business practice in China to falsify a lot of documentation.

A report by consulting firm Zinch China seems to confirm this. Zinch advises American colleges and universities on recruiting Chinese students. The firm interviewed agents and admissions consultants, as well as more than 200 Beijing students headed to U.S. schools. Zinch estimates 90 percent of these students submitted false recommendation letters; 70 percent had other people write their personal essays, and half of them submitted forged high school transcripts.

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