How to Study in the United States as a Chinese Student


Every year an estimated 10 million Chinese students sit for the Gao Kao, China’s equivalent of the SAT exam for entrance into college. However, China’s universities have the capacity to accommodate only about 5.7 million students, leaving more than 4 million students quite unable to fulfil their educational goals.

As a result, in recent times an increasing number of Chinese students have crossed over the Pacific to study in US universities and fulfill their educational ambitions. Today Chinese students are the single largest group of international students in the US. The number of Chinese students studying in the US more than quadrupled within a ten-year period from about 60,000 in 2004 to more than 270,000 in 2014. This article shall be examining the prospects and opportunities for Chinese students studying in the US.

China and the United States

China and the United States are the world’s biggest economies. Between them they produce nearly a quarter of all global industrial output. To maintain such impressive levels of manufacturing output, there is a never ending need for highly skilled manpower in all sectors of national life. Every year, China and the United States commit huge resources to education, research and manpower development, with both countries sharing and mutually benefiting from modern advances in science and technology.Chinese students studying in the US can expect to learn and thrive in an egalitarian society and benefit from a world class educational system.

Visa Requirements to the United States

Chinese students planning to study in the US may apply for a student visa which grants them legal stay in the US for the duration of their studies. There are two classes of student visas. F-Class visas are issued to the majority of students while the M-Class visas are reserved for doctorate and research students.

The process for obtaining a US visa can be a long and arduous procedure but prospective students can find the process a little less complicated and significantly improve their chances of a success if they painstakingly follow the US embassy’s laid down guidelines for visa application.

The US’s Educational System

The US boasts of one of the most advanced educational systems in the world with 5 US universities ranking among the top ten universities in the world. The country’s educational system is structured into three phases; 6 years of Primary, 6 years of Secondary and Tertiary or higher education.

International or Chinese students looking to study in the US would need to submit official transcripts of their academic qualifications including Grade Point Averages GPAs. In addition, post graduate students would need to find out the US equivalent of whatever tertiary level qualifications they possess.


University US Ranking World Ranking City
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1 1 Cambridge
Stanford University 2 2 California
Harvard University 3 3 Cambridge
California Institute of Technology 4 4 Pasedena
University of Chicago 5 9 Chicago
Princeton University 6 13 New Jersey
Cornell University 7 14 New York
Yale University 8 16 Connecticut
John Hopkins 9 17 Baltimore
Colombia University 10 18 New York

Official Language of Instruction/Communication

English is the official language for instruction and learning in nearly all US universities and prospective students would be required to supply proof of proficiency in English by submitting a (TOEFL) Test of English as a Foreign Language or an appropriate equivalent. Nevertheless, some universities with a significant population of Chinese students provide career counselling services with Chinese speakers.

US Universities Popular with Chinese Students

Nearly all universities in the US readily accept international or Chinese students once they fulfill the necessary admission requirements. However, for a number of reasons, certain US universities and colleges are especially popular with Chinese students. For instance, the universities of California, New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois have a significantly higher population of international students many of whom are from China.

Chinese Community in the US

According to the 2010 census figures there are about 3.8 million people of Chinese ancestry living in the US. Demographics show that the bulk of the Chinese immigrant population seems to have congregated around the New York metropolis of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. In all, there are more than 700,000 ethnic Chinese living in New York alone.Other states with significant Chinese populations include Los Angeles (500,000), San Francisco (460,000) and Washington (105,000).

There are also dozens of ethnic Chinese enclaves also known as Chinatowns in the US, with the oldest being the San Francisco Chinatown. Other important Chinatowns can be found in Honolulu, San Diego, Philadelphia, Houston and Los Angeles.

Student Sponsorship

Most Chinese students studying in the US are privately sponsored or beneficiaries of corporate scholarship programs. The Chinese government however provides limited support and assists the students with visa procurement and in the provision of consular services in many US cities for Chinese students studying in the US.

Jobs Prospects for Chinese Nationals in the US after School

Some Chinese students however choose to remain in the US after the completion of their studies. For many of them who make that decision, that means finding a company willing to sponsor their work visa, known as the (H-1B) visa.

After graduation or the completion of their studies, Chinese and other international students have a 180-day period to either find work or obtain an Optional Practical Training (OPT) status which allows them to remain in the US for an additional 12-month period. Students who majored in Science Technology and Mathematics (STEM) however have an option of staying up to 29 months after graduation.

Returning Home and Finding Work

The larger majority of Chinese students studying in the US, return home to China on completion of their studies. US university degrees are generally well received and respected in China’s labor market, with many sectors of the polity placing an emphasis on hiring multi-lingual or English speaking employees as they seek to expand operations and compete in a global market.

The Chinese hold their traditional model in high esteem and parents go to great lengths and spare no expense to ensure that their wards receive the best possible educational qualifications. However, with the spread of globalization and opportunities, an increasing number of parents are willing to give their children foreign, American style education.

For more inquiries about admissions and visas to study abroad, send an email or call: +2347037293057, 08125835476



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