Gaokao Scores Accepted at US University Under Pilot Program

By Mary Stegmeir, Assistant Director of Content and Marketing

Chinese students who performed well on their country’s national college placement exam will be able to apply for admission to the University of San Francisco (CA) later this month.

The pilot program seeks to attract high-performing students who, for myriad reasons, decide they no longer wish to pursue postsecondary education in their home country.

Roughly 9.4 million Chinese students sat for the grueling, two-day test (called the gaokao) last week. Their scores, which will be released June 25, determine where they will be able to attend college. The University of San Francisco (USF) program offers students another choice — matriculation at a selective US institution.

“Once the (Chinese) government releases its cut-off scores, we will establish our own, and invite students for a face-to-face interview in Beijing,” Stanley Nel, the university’s vice president for international relations, said in an email. 

“Provided their English is good enough, students will be able to enroll in Fall 2015,” he noted. 

Space is limited. About 70 Chinese students have inquired about the program so far, according to Nel. Fifteen applicants have signed up for interviews.

“We expect the new gaokao process to yield no more than a dozen or so students this fall, and would be quite happy with just five very good students,” he said.

Interviews are scheduled to begin July 4. Successful applicants will receive formal admission letters soon after so they can begin the process of applying for student visas. Fall semester classes at USF kick off Aug. 25.
If continued beyond 2015, school officials say the alternative admission process could be used to recruit more students.
Because the gaokao is administered in the summer, Chinese test-takers who ultimately decide to pursue higher education in the US typically must take a year off from their studies. They use the time to complete US admission and English proficiency exams, and prepare applications.
The USF program allows students to avoid that gap. According to a statement from the university, well-qualified students will be eligible for merit scholarships, with their achievement on the gaokao used to measure academic preparedness.
About the Gaokao
Several forms of the test exist. The most commonly used format includes sections on math, Chinese and English. In addition, students complete either a social studies or science exam, depending on their academic track. See sample questions.

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