Some Recruiting Agents Exploit Chinese Students

Andy Nguyen

Member
Leon Lin was ecstatic when he found out he’d be leaving home in southern China to study at the University of Connecticut. As the Chinese agent whom his parents paid $5,000 to help him get into the school told him, the university’s flagship campus at Storrs was a highly ranked institution, with 25,000 students and ready access to Boston and New York City. And eventually Lin would return home with the status and career advantage of a U.S. degree.

It never crossed his mind that he’d pay $47,000 a year to live in an almost empty country inn and attend classes five miles down the road at a UConn satellite campus comprising two buildings and 250 students. He shares a room and a microwave with his only compatriot on the Torrington campus, Li Rirong, a fellow freshman with similarly dashed dreams.

“I didn’t know there was a regional campus,” said 20-year- old Lin. “I knew there were lots of international students at Storrs. I said, ‘Torrington campus, what the hell?’”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-22/china-rush-to-u-s-colleges-reveals-predatory-fees.html
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
About 90 percent of recommendation letters for Chinese students are fake and 70 percent of essays aren’t written by the applicant, according to the Zinch China report. “Many agents in China have folders full of ‘successful’ essays, which they tweak each year,” Zinch China Chairman Tom Melcher wrote. “Others hire recent returnees to write essays.”

One former employee of an agency in eastern China was paid $8 a day to craft essays in 2009-2010 for 20 applicants to U.S. colleges, she said, asking not to be identified. All of them were admitted, she said.

Most of the applicants planned to major in finance or accounting, so for them she wrote essays describing how the student had been motivated by reading a biography of a famous American businessman such as Bill Gates, she said in a telephone interview. For recommendations, teachers’ names were signed without their knowledge, and extracurricular credentials such as student-union president were made up, said the 23-year-old.
 

bigbadwolf

Well-Known Member
Some real blood-sucking vampires out there .... I'm convinced the US government knows about this form of racketerring but does nothing except make token protests and half-hearted admonitions.
 

Anthony DeAngelis

Active Member
While I agree that this is absolutely disgusting, I don't think it is a federal issue. I mean a Chinese student sent fraudulent materials, provided by a Chinese person to a US state school. It sounds like an immigrant got taken advantage of by one of his fellow citizens who is a little more "in the know". Sad, but has been happening for years.

If you can't write you own essays or speak decent English, how on earth do Chinese students expect to do well in business majors that require networking and various soft skills?
 

bigbadwolf

Well-Known Member
The universities accepting these Chinese students know full well the essays and recommendations are fabricated (though of course they'll feign ignorance and outrage). Furthermore they know the Chinese students are doing things like working together in groups (when the assignments are supposed to be done individually) and trying to game the system every way they can -- but so great is the lust for lucre that they turn a blind eye to all this. The Feds are supposed to provide some oversight, some regulation -- that's what government is for. Instead, this laissez-faire attitude where anything goes and caveat emptor. My humble opinion.
 

abcdefh

Member
>>Some Recruiting Agents Exploit Chinese Students

I don't think this is one way. It's rather both ways. It's all about competitive advantage.

It's a complicated matter, rather than pure black and white. It does put a lot of people, including myself who don't have fake essay, recommendation, etc. at a disadvantage. But it is what it is. It's not fair, but life is not fair anyway.
 

mfegrad

CMU MSCF Alum
If you can't write you own essays or speak decent English, how on earth do Chinese students expect to do well in business majors that require networking and various soft skills?
wait...you mean getting a 4.0 doesn't automatically provide an offer to be a head trader at GS and make a million plus your first year out? /sarcasm off

there have been a number of articles on bloomberg lately that highlight the (for lack of a better word) psychosis surrounding the college application process for chinese nationals. one a few weeks back detailed a "test prep" company that taught its students how to cheat on tests so that they could get into brand name schools. it's really rather sad, as the article mentioned the high drop-out rate because many students just don't have a decent enough grasp of the language of instruction.

the whole shebang really puts a tremendous amount of pressure on students, many of whom are not old or mature enough to know better and many of whom are not getting the education best suited to them. and i haven't even yet touched on the other elephant in the room: what happens when these students get a job and all they've known their entire lives is cheating?
 

Jim

Member
Honestly, I'd always cheat if I could always get away with it. The Chinese are simply doing what many of us are simply afraid of doing - getting an upper hand by cheating. Check out the Olympics - the Chinese cheated, and they pulled it off. That's dope.
 

Anthony DeAngelis

Active Member
The universities accepting these Chinese students know full well the essays and recommendations are fabricated (though of course they'll feign ignorance and outrage). Furthermore they know the Chinese students are doing things like working together in groups (when the assignments are supposed to be done individually) and trying to game the system every way they can -- but so great is the lust for lucre that they turn a blind eye to all this. The Feds are supposed to provide some oversight, some regulation -- that's what government is for. Instead, this laissez-faire attitude where anything goes and caveat emptor. My humble opinion.
I agree with you that there is collusion, but I really think the students who cheat are truly hurting themselves. Yes, I realize that GPA gets jobs and the school you go to influences a lot, but if a bunch of Chinese students can't speak English and do the work together, what will they have accomplished?

I mean if you can't speak English and don't know how to program because you tag teamed all the work, you are not going to be getting a job in the US, that's for sure.

Interesting aside, India and China are both developing nations with strong mathematics/science leaning education desires. You rarely (or maybe I just don't hear about it) hear of Indian students cheating.

I wonder if the pressure to cheat stems from the one child policy and/or specific societal pressure.
 

rishab dhar

Active Member
I think the same applies to Indian applicants. Very very few Indian applicants either write their own essays or get an original recommendation letter. They either write the recommendation letter themselves and get it signed by the teacher or do the both themselves, as teachers in India, on an average, do not bother to help their students.

For this reason, admission to top B-schools (IIMs) does not requires recommendation letters or essays as they know it is bogus and unreliable means to identify potential admits. The only things that matter are scores scores scores. Even experience letters can be fudged or got through family friends in various companies.

FYI 90% weight age in admission process in on 10th, 12th, Bachelors degree % , and CAT (common admission test) scores. Work-ex makes barely 10% for shortlisting. After 1000 candidates have been shortlisted, from which another 700 or 800 are to be shunted, at lets us say IIM Ahemdabad, GDs (Group Discussions) and PIs (Personal Interviews) are conducted. This part is walk in the park for any convent educated student, for the language skills (spoken and written) in English of most Indian students are pathetic.

Regarding jobs and money, I can safely say that contacts, ability to manipulate things or being devious will help you more in corporate world in India, rather than true knowledge. So, this is kind of practice lesson for what you can do in the real world in India. Still don't believe me? Just look at the qualifications (educational and not criminal!) or the ministers in India. Many of them have barely passed 10th grade, and they are managing the economy of India! by using vote bank politics.
 
I think an Admission Adviser will be better than an agent. Their job is to help students secure admission purely on the basis of their profile. This is unlike agents who guarantee admission to XYZ University, generally with vested interests.

Finally I think the student's research will be of primary importance.
 
I am a little surprised that US government allows US (non-profit) colleges to pay the agents (or middle men) commission to recruit students. I have zero respect for schools that have to pay agents to solicit mismatched students. SUNY has just lost a lot of points in its reputation in my own opinion.

I am also surprised that nobody has yet sued this Martin guy.
 

rishab dhar

Active Member
@coolharvard

I think that it would be too naive to believe that if something isn't allowed it does/would not take place. It means either that you are unaware or that you simply turned a blind eye. Did you even hear about influential government officials bribing/forcing distinguished public universities to admit their relatives.

The admission committee isn't GOD, no matter how experienced it might be. No test is foolproof. There is always risk of human error. If these people could tell whether the other person is telling a lie with a 100% accuracy, they would all be CIA agents. Oh wait, even CIA agents cannot pick out each and every liar. We wouldn't need poly graphic tests.
 

rishab dhar

Active Member
@coolharvard

If you aim is to get admission at any cost, it is funny that everything can be faked. As I already mentioned, people can fake their entire personality, that is, they can document proof to show that they worked at say Intel labs for last 5 years, when he might have been working at a BPO for last 5 years ( Even a personal interview of 1 hour might not enough to weed him out, if he has done his homework). All his extra-curricular activities could be faked. Recommendation letters could be faked. LORs too can be faked.
 

rishab dhar

Active Member
While this may or may not benefit them, it surely does take away opportunities from others. After all, for this applicant, some worthy applicant must have been denied, for there are limited resources such as classrooms, teachers, labs etc. The admission committee may deny as much as it wants, but there is always a target class in its mind. It simply cannot admit every worthy applicant.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Although few people are as scathing of the way some finance courses are marketed, I do not yet quite see why he thinks he is subject to deceit

It never crossed his mind that he’d pay $47,000 a year to live in an almost empty country inn
It sounds like he has better accommodation than I had at university.

and attend classes five miles down the road
I had to travel >5 miles, but my ethnic group is Irish, we can do this "walking" thing I believe some of my people now can ride bicycles, though I regard the rumours that people in Ireland now have cars as a flight of fancy.

at a UConn satellite campus comprising two buildings and 250 students.
So ? And ?

He shares a room and a microwave with his only compatriot on the Torrington campus,
I shared a room for my first 4 months at university, it ended badly, knives were involved, but I still don't see this as unbearable hardship. When my wife-to-be was studying at Oxford (a British university, you may have heard of it), they did not provide a microwave oven, indeed they forbade them. So I had to buy her what she and her room mate called "the magic cupboard".
Strangely, people who've been to Oxford (like the British Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and a good % of the quants in London and NY) never ever talk of the bitter hardship they faced at this university, imagine it ! cooking on a microwave, just like ordinary people !

with his only compatriot
The #1 problem with Chinese students is other Chinese students who clump together. This often hinders their ability to learn English and do their homework on their own, so if I were running a program I would spend money merely to stop them forming an isolated group within the university.

“I didn’t know there was a regional campus,” said 20-year- old Lin
If you meet Lin, tell him not to send his resume to my firm, because he would fail any evaluation of intelligence we might apply.

I appreciate that China hasn't quite reached the level of (say) Zimbabwe, where one may use the Internet without risking being tortured, but I'm pretty sure that you can use Google to do basic research.

About 90 percent of recommendation letters for Chinese students are fake and 70 percent of essays aren’t written by the applicant,
This is obviously false, the % are far higher.
 

LeoDong

New Member
Feel sad to hear this, Many Chinese students, including their parents, have great sense of reality. What they want is some good brand schools so they would try everything, such as writing fake LOR, to get in there.
 

LeoDong

New Member
Honestly, I'd always cheat if I could always get away with it. The Chinese are simply doing what many of us are simply afraid of doing - getting an upper hand by cheating. Check out the Olympics - the Chinese cheated, and they pulled it off. That's dope.
I dont get it. What do u think Chinese cheat on Olympics?
 

bigbadwolf

Well-Known Member
I agree with you that there is collusion, but I really think the students who cheat are truly hurting themselves. Yes, I realize that GPA gets jobs and the school you go to influences a lot, but if a bunch of Chinese students can't speak English and do the work together, what will they have accomplished?
I agree with you but they don't see it this way. And see it from their point of view as well: they lack foundations, both in English and in the subject they're studying. There's not much they can do to rapidly rectify years upon years of bad schooling (assuming they want to do something about it in the first place). They do desperately want to jump over the next hurdle and acquire the imprimatur of an American qualification and do whatever it takes -- literally whatever -- to acquire it. When whole societies are based on deceit, cheating, manipulation, nepotism, corruption, the lone individual who tries to buck the system, to make it on his own merit, to play by the rules (to which hypocritical lip-service is paid) is truly an anomaly, an aberration.

I mean if you can't speak English and don't know how to program because you tag teamed all the work, you are not going to be getting a job in the US, that's for sure.
D'accord. But to them it's something down the road. They either don't know how it works in the US, or more likely, they think they'll handle it when they get to it. In addition -- *polite cough* -- the same systems of nepotism and influence-peddling have been and are being set up in the USA as well. If a Chinese gets into an American organisation, he tries to make sure that those he hires are also Chinese. Ditto for Indians.

Interesting aside, India and China are both developing nations with strong mathematics/science leaning education desires. You rarely (or maybe I just don't hear about it) hear of Indian students cheating.
It's probably a question of degree (if indeed there is a difference).

I wonder if the pressure to cheat stems from the one child policy and/or specific societal pressure.
It's the way their societies are constituted.
 
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