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5.  Watch out for market forces; stay in control

Overseas education isn’t a peaceful lake you can step into.  Because of the huge money involved, it’s a big river with very strong market forces that can sweep you away and take control. 

 

US schools face financial hardship.  In recent years, costs of higher education in the US have been rising much faster than inflation.  Thus US universities and colleges parade throughout China, selling themselves persuasively, some even establishing outposts in China.  Nowadays, really good ones and really weak ones alike are touring China looking for revenue.  A Chinese student paying full fees is a really valuable commodity, so valuable that there is increasing interest in catching the not-so-bright rich.  Concerns have been expressed that some places admit unqualified students –with the consequent question of how successful such students will be.  Besides financial, some schools have motives they may not want you to know about, e.g., pull you into their religion, make a profit for their stockholders.

People who call themselves ‘agents.’  Suddenly a new unregulated occupation has sprung up, Chinese people and internet businesses who profess to have experience and know how to guide students about overseas education.  (Somewhere, somewhere I am positive, there must be a good, knowledgeable agent.  Sorry to say, all of the ones I have run across have been either uninformed, unrealistic or unethical—in pursuit of profit.  In part, that’s to be expected, because people will not consult me if they’re satisfied.)  In the US, such people are regulated, so the qualified ones display an independent qualification to show they met knowledge and ethics standards, such as the LPC, licensed professional counselor.  
 
‘Agents’ may be paid in one of two ways, for their time, by the hour, the accepted professional way.  Or they can be paid by the sale, like a fish seller.  To make money they must sell fish.  To make money they must arrange to ship the student to a destination they have probably never seen and hardly know.  I have been involved in rescuing two promising high school students from religious training camp schools, one in remote mountains.

Typically, ‘agents’ tempt you with a list of unrealistic top names, and then, after the inevitable disappointment, frustration and application expense, you end up with a low quality name where the ‘agent’ has contacts who will pay a ‘finders fee’ or kickback. 

Beware of ‘leave it to me’ and fake applications.  The good name of China is seriously dishonored in the west by fake applications, the chances of legitimate applicants weakened because reviewers always wonder about fakery.  Never let these people talk you into writing or editing a personal essay!  The commitment, the entire foundation of western education is to honest educational inquiry.  Having an ‘agent’ ‘enhance’ or fake an application is totally dishonest and cause for immediate dismissal when discovered.  Fakery to secure a credential about individual scholarly attainment shows absolute misunderstanding at best, and at worst, moral cynicism.  If detected, and detection is done by machine now, a student may be blacklisted forever.  Similarly, ‘coaching’ for US visa applications is officially discouraged and may harm the youth’s chances.

With so much information on the web, strong applicants manage their own process.  That’s clearly the proper course, and the one the colleges and universities expect.  For those who want some outside assistance, it’s certainly better to use a US website (e.g., Go4college.com or Google ‘College advisors’) than to take chances with a person who may have little English, no US education degree, can’t deeply understand the websites, and may not have the needed standards of ethics.  To repeat, for university work, a student should be able to navigate the selection and application process in English by himself, else there is question of readiness to go. 

Finally, note that the best schools sometimes feel compelled to arrange early face to face interviews, just to make sure they are evaluating the student and not a nonsense picture bought from an ‘agent.’ 

Next, we look at an overview of the US system, so much more varied and complex than the Chinese system.

 

 5.注意市场力量,保持自我控制

出国留学并不是一汪平静的湖泊。因为有着大笔金钱牵涉其中,就好似一条有着强大市场力量的大河,可以随时把你冲走,将你控制。

美国学校处于财务困境。近年来,美国高等教育的费用逐年增加,涨幅远高于通货膨胀。 美国的大学纷纷来到中国各地推销自己,有的甚至还在中国设立据点。如今,真正的好大学和差学校都在中国寻找生源。中国学生就读美国大学需支付全额学费,这对学校来说的确很可观,这就导致他们对那些并不优秀的富家子弟也越来越感兴趣。所以有人担忧有些学校会录取并不合格的学生。问题是这些学生成功的几率会有多少呢?除解决财务问题之外,有些学校还有一些不可告人的目的,如拉你入教,为股东谋利等。

所谓的代理。突然之间,一个新兴的、缺乏规范管理的行业诞生了。不少中国人和网络营销人士声称他们对办理出国留学很有经验,知道该如何指导学生。(某种程度来说,我对此还是持积极态度的。毕竟,肯定会有一些不错的代理,他们对出国留学很有见识。很遗憾,我所碰到过的代理全部都要么是知识贫乏的、不切实际的,要么就是追求利益、缺乏职业道德的。还有一点,他们认为自己已经从代理那里得到满意的指导,所以从不来咨询我。)在美国,这一行业是受监管的,合格的代理人要具备一定的资格,展示其已经符合业内知识和职业道德标准,比如经许可的专业咨询师。

一般情况下,代理通过两种途径获利。一种是按时计酬,这也是公认的职业方式。还有一种是通过销售,就像鱼贩子。为了挣钱,就必须卖鱼。代理通过安排学生到指定的地方留学而从中获利。这些地方很有可能是他们自己都未曾听闻的。我曾经参与拯救两名大有前途的高中生的行动。他们被骗入宗教培训学校,其中一所还位于偏远的山区。

代理典型的做法是提供一份不切实际的排名前列的学校名单来诱惑你。在白白花费了申请费后,你不可避免地感到失望和沮丧,最后只能就读一家代理联系的次等学校。而代理则可以因此拿到一定的回扣。

听到 “交给我们来办吧”这种话和伪造申请材料时,要当心!中国的好名声在西方国家因为伪造申请材料而被玷污了。现在非法的申请材料成功的几率减弱了,因为审查员总是怀疑这些材料的真实性。绝对不要听信这些人,让他们捏造你的个人申请。西方教育的根本就是诚实教学。找一个代理伪造申请材料或“加快”申请程序本身就是完全不诚实的行为,一经发现,申请将被立刻驳回。伪造个人的学业成绩完全是对出国留学的误解,严重一点,可以说是道德败坏的行为。  一旦被侦测出来(现在往往用机器侦测),这个学生将被永久列入黑名单。 同样地,我不鼓励那些所谓的申请美国签证的“指导”,那可能会破坏学生的机会。

现在网上可以找到那么多信息,有能力的申请者可以自己完成申请过程。这也是较为适宜的,且美国大学比较期待的做法。如果学生需要外来帮助,最好是能够利用美国的网站, 如Go4college.com, 或用谷歌搜索“College advisors(入学咨询)”,而不要去找那些连英文都不会说,又没有美国教育背景,不能完全理解网页内容,甚至没有必备的职业道德水准的人。再次强调,在申请大学时,学生应当利用英文自己完成选择和申请过程,不然就要为自己是否已经准备就绪打上一个问号了。

最后要注意的是,有些好学校会在早期就安排面试,目的是为了确保能够真正评估学生,而不是依赖代理提供的毫无价值的信息和材料。

下一章,我们将对较中国教育体系更丰富和复杂的美国教育体系做一个大致的了解。
 

 

【词汇点津】

inflation[in'fleiʃən]  

n. 充气,膨胀;通货膨胀

例句:

Inflation is the Government's main bugbear.
通货膨胀是政府的主要难题。

consult[kən'sʌlt]  

vi. 商讨,商量,协商,会诊
vt. 向…请教,查阅,考虑

例句:

He went off at a run to consult the doctor.
他跑着去找大夫。

legitimate[li'dʒitimit]  

a. 合法的,正当的,婚生的
vt. 认为正当,立为嫡嗣,使合法

例句:

He is the legitimate heir to the property.
他是这宗财产的合法继承人。

commitment[kə'mitmənt]  

n. 委托,实行,承担义务,赞助

 

 

泰普林教授(Prof.Taplin)非常乐意与同学们进一步交流,为大伙儿解答相关的问题,欢迎与泰普林教授联系,邮箱地址   [email protected]

本文由泰普林教授(Prof.Taplin)、Annson Yan独立授权爱思英语发布,其他媒体如需转载,请与爱思网编辑部联系([email protected]),未经许可,请勿转载