I want to apply to a Chinese university
2011-12-28 09:10:00

It's becoming more popular than ever for foreign students to apply to Chinese universities. While many of them are still going through their home country colleges as part of an exchange program me, some students are opting to apply directly to a Chinese school for one, two, or even the full four years of university study.

As an example, Fudan University currently has over 1,800 long term international students enrolled, with over 10,000 foreign students from over 100 different countries having already passed through its campus. While each individual has his or her own expected course of study, some of the most popular programs that foreigners seek here in China include Computer Science and Technology, Chinese Language and Literature, International Economy and Trade, Economics, Electrical Engineering and Automation, and Civil Engineering.

It can be a bit overwhelming to apply to a foreign school, especially to a place as unique as China. As a result, the number of students studying abroad in China is still quite low - the Ministry of Education recently reported that only 77,715 foreign students currently study at Chinese universities (and 45% of those were from South Korea). But never fear, there are fairly straightforward avenues through which to achieve your ultimate goal, as long as you remember a few key points.

Application deadlines 

Typically, students wishing to apply for the fall semester must have their applications (and all other relevant material, including letters of recommendation and transcripts) in between February 15 and June 15 of that year. Those who wish to attend spring semester must have it submitted between September 15 and December 15 of the previous year. Be sure to check your chosen university's specific dates, however–for example, Fudan University requires materials to be in by May 15 for fall semester and November 15 for spring semester, while Peking University requires materials to be submitted no later than February 28.

No working on an X visa 

One major issue that foreign students face is the fact that you legally cannot work while attending school in China. As a student, you must apply for a student (X) visa and submit a Physical Examination Record for Foreigners form in order to register for classes at any Chinese university. Once that is done, you are not permitted to hold a job, even a part time one, while on that visa. This can cause some financial burden on many foreign students, so it's important for you to deal with this before you come over to China.

How much does it cost

The costs of attending a Chinese university are statistically much lower than colleges in the West. Exactly how much you'll be paying, however, all depends on where you choose to go. Not all Chinese universities even accept foreign students, but some of the more popular ones that do include Fudan University (in Shanghai), Peking University (in Beijing), and Chengdu University (in Chengdu). As one of the most well-known universities in all of China, Fudan University is one of the more expensive schools to attend, with a 21,000 yuan yearly tuition. Chengdu University falls close behind at 20,000 yuan, while Peking University costs 13,600 yuan a semester. Note, however, that tuition can sometimes change depending on the majors you choose. Also, all universities require a non-refundable application fee which usually runs around 400 yuan.

The application process 

There are two ways in which you can apply for the university of your choice – either directly through the school itself, or through China's University and College Admission System (CUCAS). Applying via CUCAS is by far your best bet, as it's a surprisingly streamlined online program that gets you a response from the university within two to four weeks of submission. To use CUCAS, simply go to their website (www.cucas.edu.cn) and register for a free account. Find the exact program and school to which you want to apply (it's also a great place to browse programs and schools if you haven't made up your mind yet), then electronically fill out and submit your application form. As you do so, you can also download the other required application materials (such as recommendation letters) and pay your application fee. If you're the nervous type, you can keep track of your application status through your CUCAS account too.

For specific entry requirements, you'll have to look at the individual university. It also depends on whether you plan to take classes taught in English or Chinese. For those who are pursuing an undergraduate degree or above and who feel confident enough to brave the Chinese-only classes, keep in mind that you'll have to submit your Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) results along with your application.

Finding housing

Once you finally arrive at your chosen university, you have two basic choices for housing – either live on campus in college provided housing, or find an apartment on your own. Many campuses have staff on hand to help you scout out an appropriate location if you want to live solo (or with a roommate of your choice). If you choose to live on campus, housing becomes much more affordable. For example, Fudan University offers a single room for 90 yuan/day or 60 yuan/day for a double. Chengdu University is even cheaper, offering a single for 40 yuan/day or a double for 25 yuan/day. You're not going to get luxury digs by any means, but you'll at least have a bathroom, telephone, TV set and refrigerator.

Choosing to study at a foreign university is often extremely exciting – and a little terrifying. However, preparation is key (as it usually is with major life decisions), so learn all you can about university life over here by reading, asking anyone you know who's been here, and talking directly with the university. But remember – the most important things you'll learn will simply have to be experienced once you get here!

Source:eChinacities.com Editor:乙姗姗