Saturday, January 19, 2013

China Cornell College Preparatory Program VS Tufts

Recently, I've become interested in college preparation programs for young Chinese who are interested in studying in the United States or other western nations. For several reasons, there is a growing interest in such programs in both the United States and in China.  

For this reason, I recently learned a little bit about The China Cornell College Preparatory Program.

Details of this program can be seen at

Elsewhere I've mentioned that I have several criticisms of the Tufts University Preparation Program. Fortunately the Cornell program appears to have avoided many of these.

First, the Tufts program is separate from the academic portions of Tufts and run by a non-academic area of the Tufts administration. Students are recruited by for profit agents whose relationship with Tufts is both ambivalent and troublesome. They are recruited primarily, but not exclusively, from Wuhan Foreign Languages High School, a school, I've been told, which admits students mostly based on social connections (there is a test for admission although it is not an open test. You must be selected to take this test, and the selections are made by teachers based on connections, bribery, and, yes, academic ability) , thus tainting the program from the beginning. The manager of the Tufts program has no real credentials or background in either education or Chinese culture, and thus finds it difficult to understand the background of the students in his program, Nor is this program his only area of responsibility. Courses are separate from the other  Tufts courses and the bulk of the instructors in the program are not regular Tufts instructors nor do they have access to all the facilities at Tufts. No one in the Tufts program has a good command of the Chinese language or culture. (When I was involved one instructor had lived in China for a semester but did not like it. Some staff had visited, sometimes when administering the program. Two instructors had lived in Taiwan for a year.)

By contrast, the Cornell program is part of the regular university programs and not separate at all. The Chinese students are recruited from throughout China and selected by the Cornell staff themselves. The program management is the standard Cornell management. For the record, although this management is not necessarily versed in Chinese culture, they are experienced in educating students from around the world and have access to countless resources when referrals are necessary. (Cornell has been dealing with Chinese students since long before the May 5 movement of 1919. The Chinese vernacular language reform movement largely originated at Cornell.) The program description is available in Chinese in a manner that is controlled by the university itself.

It appears that the Cornell program has corrected many of the mistakes of the Tufts program.        

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