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May 13, 2014

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Home » Metro » Education

Taiwan students drawn to city’s universities

A growing number of high school students from Taiwan are applying to study at Shanghai universities, a senior academic said yesterday.

“A lot of Taiwan students choose mainland universities because of the preferential admissions policies and lower entry thresholds for the best courses,” said Xiang Yanxun, director of admissions services at East China University of Science and Technology.

At Tongji University, for example, the 56 applications received this year from Taiwan students represent a 100 percent increase from 2013. Similarly, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics said it had received 40 applications from Taiwan this year, far more than it did 12 months ago.

Xiang said unlike mainland students, who prioritize a university’s overall ranking, young people from Taiwan care more about their future careers and focus therefore on an institution’s standing and reputation in their preferred discipline.

For instance, they favor Tongji University for majors such as architecture, urban planning and dentistry, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics for accounting, and East China University of Science and Technology for chemical engineering and technology, he said.

To qualify for a place at a mainland university, Taiwan students are required to achieve a certain score in their unified high school graduation exam and then pass an interview at their chosen institution.

“Competition among Taiwan students for the best courses is far less fierce than it is for mainland students who have to sit the entrance exam,” said Liao Zongting, an admissions officer at Tongji University.

Home from home

As well as the steep increase in applications received from Taiwan, Liao said a large number of the students applying for university courses in Shanghai already live here.

At a recruitment event last weekend at East China University of Science and Technology, of the 26 Taiwan students applying for places, 24 were the offspring of Taiwan businesspeople who live in Shanghai and its neighboring provinces.

Taiwan native Wang Yuxin, a junior accounting student at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said: “I chose a Shanghai university because I’ve lived here since kindergarten and all my friends are here. I like business and I knew the university specialized in it.”

In recent years the government has launched a number of policies to attract students from not only Taiwan, but also Hong Kong and Macau.

“By integrating students from different backgrounds we can improve our higher education system,” Xiang said.

Meanwhile, the number of mainland high school students enrolling at Taiwan universities this year rose by more than 250 to almost 2,000, China News Services reported.

This year marks the first time Taiwan’s public universities have opened to students from eight mainland cities and provinces, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong.


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