Overseas Recruiting Brings Higher Number of Applicants From China


Published: March 30, 2011

Recruiting efforts in China have paid off for Fordham. Of the approximately 31,000 applicants to the class of 2015, approximately 600 were from China, according to the associate director of admission. This represents an overall growth in Chinese applicants to the university. For the class of 2014, 382 Chinese students applied to Fordham and 238 applied for the class of 2013.

The next two countries that sent the most applications were South Korea, with 204, and Mexico, with 115.

According to Monica Esser, associate director for international admission at Fordham, of those 600, about 40 percent will be granted acceptance to the class of 2015, a number similar to Fordham’s current admission rate of 49.6 percent.  These figures will be finalized once decisions are mailed on April 1.

This increased interest in Fordham’s education can be attributed to a greater emphasis placed by admissions counselors on welcoming more students from other countries.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve been expanding our recruitment methods abroad,” Patricia Peek, associate director of admissions, said. “We seek the strongest students across domestic and international markets as we meet our various enrollment goals for each incoming class.”

Yaxi Zheng, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’13, is from Beijing, China. Like many international students, she took advantage of the opportunity to study in America. “From when I was little I just felt like I have to study abroad just to have the education in a foreign country,” Zheng said.

The trend of increased Chinese citizenship correlates to a larger overall increase in students from overseas. Salvatore Longarino, director of the Office for International Services, noted that the international non-immigrant undergraduate population at Fordham has been rapidly increasing over the past few years. In 2006, there were 140 international students. By 2010, there were 262, a figure that represents an 87.1 percent overall increase. As a whole for the entire university, undergraduate and graduate schools combined, there has been a 63.7 percent increase of international students from 2006 to 2010.

Esser, who travels to China to network with various high schools and recruit potential Fordham students, said the new government law enacted is part of the reason for such a drastic influx of Chinese students.

“Many undergraduate programs in the U.S. have seen a rise in applications from China,” Esser said. “A couple things shifted abut six years ago—the visa issue was processed which makes it easier for students to get visas. Up until 10 years ago, it was harder.”

Yinzi Hua, FCLC ’14, from Shenzhen, China, said the process for getting a visa took about a month.

“For me, getting a visa, I think, is not hard,” Hua said. “The officer asks you some questions about your family, where you’re going to study and there is an interview.”

Another possible reason for the higher number of applicants can be credited to China’s flourishing economy.

“I think between a shortage of spots in Chinese universities and a rising middle and upper class, the number of students and families that can study outside of China has increased,” Esser said.

International students are unable to receive federal funding, so many pay Fordham’s full price or rely on merit-based scholarships for tuition assistance.

“For the majority of international students at Fordham, their families are responsible for full cost of attendance,” Esser said.

Admitting students from other countries diversifies the campus and helps to create a stronger academic pool on campus.

“We are interested in attracting quality students from overseas and continuing to diversify our student body as well as offer a global educational experience,” Peek said.

And gaining that global education experience is why some chose to study in America. For Hua, studying in America fit perfectly with her major of international studies.

“I think because of the education, because I want to travel around the world and if could go to any country to study it’s a good start,” Hua said.

Although the national high school she attended encouraged her to stay in China, most of her family felt that an American education was a better option.

The admission process for international students is very similar to American applicants. Test scores, recommendations and essays are all taken into account for acceptance. A main difference however, is that non-native English speakers must take a TOEFL or IELTS exam.

For Chinese students Hua and Zheng, the attraction of New York City and the thought of independence and a better education is the draw for studying far from home.

“America is the strongest country in the world,” Zheng said. “All my friends in China felt like ‘Oh my gosh, you are so lucky, you are in New York City!’”