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Major Change American Teens Must Recognize – Foreign Students Are Not Just “Diverse”, They Are Better Credentialed.

By Mark Greenstein
Founder and Lead Instructor, Ivy Bound / Rising Stars.  March 2013

Permission hereby given to re-print, so long as author name and email are cited.

For over a decade I have written about the appeal of foreign students to U.S. universities.  Colleges used to embrace foreign applicants for their “diversity” and because they pay full tuition.    That is changing.

To elite universities, the diversity that overseas students on campus provides is no longer a big deal.  MERIT is now the big deal.    Overseas students come armed with a better math education than most Americans, and at least as good critical thinking skills.* Overseas students now prep hard to show colleges equal or superior SAT scores.

At Korean “hagwons”, students study 8 – 15 hours a WEEK just for the SAT.  Chinese students come close to that.  They crave an American university education.

College admissions officers love seeing high SAT scores.  American students pining to attend an elite college should adopt this Asian model for propelling themselves to elite status. 

Americans tend to be more innovative than their Asian counterparts.  That too is changing.  Asian professionals and scholars have recognized this “creativity gap” and Asian students have made strides to overcome it.    They take courses in “creativity/entrepreneurship”, and they attend U.S. universities to try to land on top.  Asians students’ use of technology is reportedly just as high as American students’ use.  Thus creative Americans might be inventing the gadgets, and designing the software, but Asians are using it with ease, putting them on par with American students for potential innovation. 

I remain with my prediction that by 2025, elite U.S. campuses will be 50% attended by Asians or North Americans of Asian descent.   “Anglos” without such lineage would be well-served to be “acting Asian” in some respects over the next decade.

*Their English abilities are not as strong as their American counterparts’, but they are far better than the average American’s ability to speak Spanish or French.