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SOURCE Keystone Academy Beijing
Opens Discussion With Chinese Parents About University Admissions in the U.S.
BEIJING, Dec. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On November 28, Keystone Academy hosted the 4th salon in its Educational Salon Series, A Close Up on International Education, at the Beijing American Club in Beijing, China. The theme of the salon, "Stand out from the Crowd - Things That Matter Most When You Prepare for Top Universities in the U.S.," was chosen in response to Chinese parents' increasing demand to learn about U.S. university admission processes. Mr. Michael Yi, Keystone's Head of Middle School, and Ms. Rachael Beare, Keystone's Dean of Admission, presented general admission process information using a combination of graphs, videos, and data, and shared their experiences with and answered questions from the more than 150 Chinese parents who were in attendance.
Putting Students in the Driver's Seat
Head of Middle School Mr. Michael Yi, who has served as Assistant Principal for two California Distinguished Schools and/or U.S. National Blue Ribbon Schools, provided Chinese parents with detailed timetables, starting from Grade 9, for university preparation, and related website and book resources. As a Chinese national, though he understood the affinity that Chinese parents have towards Ivy League universities, he emphasized the information that parents obtain from this presentation and elsewhere should be used to support the child's preparation for university admission, and not to control the child's decisions. He encouraged Chinese parents to concede some of the decision-making authority, and to give children control of the driver's seat. Allowing children the space to mature, and to explore and discover their own interests, while at the same time guiding them in the process of collecting university admission materials and planning their high school academic and daily life should optimize the child's development, said Mr. Yi. At the end of this process, a child should be capable of making an independent decision regarding which school he or she would like to apply to and the major they would like to pursue.
Admission Teams Seek Well-Rounded First-Year Classes
Mr. Yi advised parents and students not to focus on learning about universities needs, and not to assume the standards that university admission teams deem desirable are universal and stagnant. In fact, admission teams "are not necessarily looking for music, athletic, or science talents. Admission staff are putting together a class that meets the school's needs. It's the strategic needs of the school. And their needs may change from year to year. Colleges are not only looking for the well-rounded student; they are looking for well-rounded first year classes," said Mr. Yi. He continued by saying that the number of universities, whether public or private, a student could apply to should be expanded to include public universities in the U.S. other than the Ivy League Schools because some are also outstanding in their own regard. Since education is a primary source of pride for a Chinese family, Mr. Yi concluded his speech by expressing his concern that parents impose their own standards of success on their children, regardless of intention, and then they run the risk of negatively influencing their child's growth. He quoted a statement from Mr. Robin Mamlet, former Dean of Admission at Stanford, to emphasize his point, "It's the person, not the place, that makes the difference."
Competitive Advantages of a Chinese Student Applicant
Dean of Admission Ms. Rachael Beare, who has a deep understanding of the university admission process from personal experience, graduating from Amherst College with a B.A. and earning her Ed.M. from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, and more than 20 years of professional experience, working in admission and financial aid for several prestigious independent schools in the U.S., began her presentation by providing recent enrollment statistics from Ivy League universities. These schools admit 5 - 8% of total national applicants. And most of these applicants are ranked at the top of their class, said Ms. Beare. The competition for international students is even greater. However, U.S. universities, especially private universities, seek for intelligent and capable students from various religious, ethnic, historical, and cultural backgrounds. Chinese students, who bring with them their own perceptions of Chinese history, culture, heritage, and current status of society, greatly encourage cultural understanding - both for American citizens and students from all over the world. Those are competitive advantages that Chinese students might lose if they try to assimilate into American culture at a very young age.
Be Yourself and Know How to Tell Your Story
Ms. Beare continued by saying, "One thing I can tell you about people who do admission is they know who is authentic, and who is not. And it's much easier to spot than you think. The things that make us who we are, are also things that make us different from everyone else. And the students who have the best applications are able to show the difference." She showed videos from three different applicants and provided parents with a different perspective from which to view their own child's applications. At the same time, said Ms. Beare, parents must keep in mind that because of the competition and thousands of applications that admission teams receive, students should be prepared to communicate their story within a short period of time. And she gave parents a scenario to illustrate this point: Say your child enters an elevator and the Dean of Admission is in the same elevator. What will your child say to this person to convince them they are suitable for their school? What is your child's "elevator speech?" Ms. Beare concluded her presentation by recommending some admission related books.
Inspire Children to Find Their Passion
Keystone's Director of Marketing and Communications, Ms. Sabrina Liu, closed the salon by reiterating the idea that a child needs time and opportunity to explore and develop their talents. She quoted John Coetzee, a South African novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature, to confirm this point. Mr. Coetzee said, "I believe, there must be in the student's heart a certain yearning for the truth, a certain fire…For his part, the teacher recognizes and encourages the fire in the student, and responds to it by burning with an intenser light. Thus together the two of them rise to a higher realm." If we as adults, both parents and educators, can accomplish this, I believe that the world's most prestigious, competitive universities will open their doors widely for our students, concluded Ms. Liu.
Keystone Academy's Educational Salon Series: "A Close Up on International Education"
Keystone will host its 5th salon, "Between Two Worlds - Debunking Myths in Bilingual Education and How to Raise the Next Generation of Bilingual and Bi-cultural Children," on January 16, 2014. Any educator, student, parent or professional from other industries who have an interest in education are welcome to participate. Please visit our website at www.keystoneacademy.cn for more information.
About Keystone Academy
Keystone Academy is a non-profit, philanthropic venture with a board of trustees. The school, which will enroll its inaugural class in Fall 2014, blends distinctive traditions in eastern, western, and international education, creating a "new world school" that is academically outstanding. At Keystone, we embrace a world that is dynamic and ever-changing. We learn from and we learn for this enterprising, global community.
The Head of School and School Leadership Team are responsible for the daily operations of and major decisions for the school. For more information about Keystone, please visit the school's website at www.keystoneacademy.cn.
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