Study: One in four Chinese students drop out of Ivy League schools

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 6:51pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 7:32pm

One in four Chinese students attending Ivy League universities in the US drop out, according to a study on recruitment of returned overseas graduates.

The students, who were all high-achievers in China, were unable to adapt to the new environment largely due to differences in the educational system and language barriers, said the 2013 Overseas-returned Graduate Recruitment Report citing statistics collected from the universities.

And of those who do graduate, an increasing number choose to look for work in China. Half of the returning graduates cited “economic conditions” as the main obstacle to staying overseas, followed by saturated overseas employment markets and poor social skills, which accounted for 38.9 per cent and 33.6 per cent respectively, the survey found.

The study, published by EIC, China’s largest overseas study service agency, was based on a survey of more than 9,000 professionals in 23 major cities across various industries, according to Southern Metropolis Daily

This latest blow to the market for overseas education comes amid the largest-ever wave of graduates returning from overseas.

According to the Centre for China and Globalisation (CCG), a non-profit think tank based in Beijing, over 270,000 overseas graduates returned to China in 2012, up 47 per cent from a year earlier. It also said 70 per cent of the entire overseas graduate population chose to seek jobs in China.  

CCG also identifies unaccredited higher education institutions as a cause of many students having to return home.

Earlier this month CCG warned prospective students about unaccredited higher education institutions, also known as “diploma factories”, which offer fake degrees and diplomas. Half of these institutions, often similarly named to prestigious universities to mislead students, were based in the United States, and 95 per cent of the diplomas were given to students from China, the report said.

Wang Huiyao, director of CCG, said Chinese students left overseas schools for various reasons. “It could be due to poor language skills, cultural differences, poor social skills and even plagiarism,” he said in a telephone interview.

But Wang cast doubt on the 25-per-cent drop-out rate from Ivy League universities.

“The drop-out rate apparently is higher than usual, but it appears to be too high to be true.” he said in a telephone interview. “Students who dropped out of university did not necessarily return to China. They might just have transferred to other schools,” he added.