Chinese students are increasingly willing to head overseas for studies at an earlier age, a new survey indicates.
Until recently, Chinese students mainly studied abroad for master's or doctoral degrees. With China's economic explosion and an increase in affluent families, more Chinese students are now seeking to study abroad at an earlier age, the survey found.
Education International Cooperation Group, a domestic education services provider, surveyed more than 2,000 students and their parents from 18 of the country's large and middle-sized cities, in an attempt to gauge their thoughts on students studying abroad at an earlier age－those aged 15 to 18.
"For quite a long time, people believed that only those students who have low grades choose to study abroad," said Zhan Jianguo, general manager of EIC Group's Shanghai branch. "Actually, this situation has already changed over the past few years, and students' overall quality has improved significantly."
The survey found that about half of the students polled have a grade point average above 85, which meets the basic requirements for applying to the top 50 universities in the world, including Harvard, Columbia, Oxford and Cambridge.
In addition to the good academic performance, more than 70 per cent of the students polled had received awards for such things as sports, music and the arts.
Most students said they were willing to set off from home and study abroad, though they were in the younger age bracket. More than 90 per cent of the polled students said they have positive attitudes toward studying abroad, and among them about 56 per cent said they were willing to do so.
"Compared with China's education system, Western education focuses on developing students' potential and improving their critical thinking ability. That's why a growing number of students have gone abroad for studies in recent years," Zhan said.
Students' optimistic attitude helps them overcome the problems and challenges that might arise when they study in an unfamiliar country, Zhan added.
Meanwhile, the poll also found that parents who are well-situated financially and socially are more likely to allow their children to chase their dreams overseas.