Last Friday, New Oriental Vision Overseas (新东方前途出国) held a large college fair (美国本科顶尖名校巡回面试会) at the Zhongguancun Crowne Plaza. This event gave students the opportunity to speak with admissions officers from various universities and colleges from the US, including the University of Chicago, Cornell University, University of California Berkeley, Swarthmore College, William and Mary College, and more. This event proved useful for those looking to apply to these colleges, as they were able to speak to the admissions officers directly in the interview sessions. Here’s my experience.
Twenty-minute interviews were held for four sessions. During each session, four students were able to speak to the admissions officer of the university or college they signed up for. I signed up for interviews with two universities: William and Mary College and the University of Chicago.
At the interview, the four of us sat in a line across from the admissions officer. It was quite strange, as we were not informed of how the interview process would go or if the interview was actually a formal interview. The first session with the admissions officer of William and Mary was more like an information session. When we sat down, the lady spread her hands and said, “So what would you like to know?”
To be honest, this first session was a bit of a letdown. The three other people in my group asked endlessly about acceptable TOEFL score ranges and what sections on the TOEFL are most important. I managed to squeeze in a question about student life and the campus at William and Mary before we ran out of time. Overall, I felt like the first session was rushed and not well planned out.
The second session with the admissions officer from the University of Chicago was much better, though we were very tight on time. The session length had been shortened from 20 minutes to 15, so after a few rounds of asking about our interests and why we wanted to study in the US, the ushers were pressing the admission officer to end the conversation and hurriedly herded all the students towards the conference room. However, this interview session gave us an idea of what kinds of questions would be asked during the actual application process.
After the interview sessions, there was a two-hour seminar where the admissions officers introduced each of their schools and participated in a Q&A session with attendees. The atmosphere was light and the admissions officers cracked jokes during their presentations to make their university more appealing to the audience. The latter soaked it up. It’s amazing how many Chinese students and parents are eager and interested in the “study abroad” business; the appeal of top-notch American universities was not to be underestimated.
Outside of the conference room, college students from universities such as Yale, Duke, UCLA, and Carnegie Mellon were available to answer questions regarding the application process. Students and parents crowded around the students and bombarded them with questions ranging from “how do you apply” to “what did you do to get in” (supposing that the college students themselves would know).
It was very amusing (though not surprising) to see parents immediately drag their teenage kid to one of the college students when it was revealed that the student was accepted to and is attending Yale University. Ah, the power of prestige.
This was a good opportunity to speak to admissions officers and find out more about the universities. If you missed this session, fear not, as there will be another session in Beijing on Sunday, August 4. Universities that will be attending include Emory University, University of Rochester, University of California Santa Barbara, The University of Texas at Austin, Pomona College, Haverford College, Harvey Mudd College, and Smith College.
Reservations for interviews with admissions officers are required, and can be made online here
Date and time: August 4, 2.30-5pm
Location: 4/F, Crowne Plaza Beijing, 106 Zhichun Lu (200m from Haidian Huangzhuang metro station C exit), Haidian District
Contact: 6260 5599 or 5900 0326
Photos courtesy of New Oriental
Freda Zhao is a beijingkids intern (of the month) currently studying at the Western Academy of Beijing. She is one year from graduating high school. Outside of school work, she enjoys reading, painting, and mimicking cat sounds in her backyard (to draw strays to her house and feed them)