New admissions policy for students living in China comes under scrutiny

by Kaitlyn Griffith, Rachel Kamada, and Hsing Tseng

The Office for International Admission has instituted a new policy for all students applying to the University of Denver from China, which requires that those students complete an extra interview to assess their English proficiency.

The policy has been a point of debate, most notably in an Opinions editorial and a subsequent rebuttal letter to the editor in DU’s student-run newspaper The Clarion.

What is the policy?

Marjorie Smith, Associate Dean of International Student Admission and the author of the letter to the editor that appeared in the The Clarion, clarified that the new English proficiency requirement applies to all students living in China, including non-Chinese students and not including Chinese students living in other countries.


DU applicants living in China must fulfill an extra English proficiency requirement.

“All undergraduate first-year applicants living in China who wish to be admitted directly into their degree program must complete the CIEE Applicant Interview (CAI).  It is administered in a number of cities around China and measures both spoken and written English ability,” said Smith.

According to Smith, the requirement was created to address the fact that the current means of assessing English proficiency were not adequate.

The new requirement will take effect for those applicants applying for the Fall 2013 quarter and following.

 Current DU students have mixed reactions

Jack Mao, a senior from China majoring in Philosophy, thinks that the new English requirement is fair, considering that a great majority of international students are from China.

“To apply to Chinese would take care of the majority of the [English] problems. But talking about discrimination, yes, because of course people from Saudi, from Brazil, from Europe, as long as their language is not English, they should have this policy apply to them too,” said Mao.

Yifa Hu, or “Archie” as he calls himself in English, is another student from China and believes that the policy is unfair.

Jack Mao

Jack Mao, a current DU student, thinks that the policy is fair but needs some reworking.

“They need to give us a reason why they’re doing for specifically Chinese students,” said Hu.

Julia Reeder, a graduate Psychology student, compared the new admissions policy to the lack of proficiency requirements for international applicants to universities in China.

“They don’t require us to have any language requirement,” said Reeder, who will attend the Institute of Psychology and Academy of Science in Beijing this summer.

Reeder also stated that since the new requirement only applies to students from China, she agrees that it may be discriminatory.

“If this new policy is something that is deferentially harder than the other English test for the other populations, then it’s incredibly unfair and probably to the detriment of the University,” said Reeder.

The requirements and moving forward

According to Smith, the Office for International Admission is considering several options moving forward with the requirements, including making the CAI optional/recommended and setting minimum subscore requirements for the different TOEFL sections (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening) or even eliminating the CAI requirement altogether.

Hu, however, thinks this reform may be too little too late, and believes that there may be reactions from the Chinese student body.

“I think there will be a protest or even a boycott from the Chinese students,” said Hu.

The new requirement and its effects will be examined in Fall 2013 according to the correlation between the CAI interview and the results on the English entrance exam (ELPA).


2 Responses to New admissions policy for students living in China comes under scrutiny

  • Lauren Poore
    Lauren Poore says:

    I think this is a great informational video. It is full of interesting information that I definitely have not heard before and the balance with the facts and student opinion really adds to the interviews. The interviews really got deep into the issue, which added to the story a lot. You also had some really good b-roll in between the interviews, especially panning on the first B-roll shot. I liked how the b-roll mainly matched what the student were talking about in the interviews, as well.

  • Megan Sehr
    Megan Sehr says:

    I think you guys chose a great topic to cover. You chose an issue on campus that a lot of students don’t know about. You had some interesting shots, which added creativity to your video. Your b-roll had a lot of action and people in it, giving your video movement and making your narration more interesting.

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