Ivy League: pro-Chinese Citizen or pro-Singapore Citizen

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: March 2003 Archive: Ivy League: pro-Chinese Citizen or pro-Singapore Citizen
By Uilcire (Uilcire) on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 09:15 am: Edit

I have a dual citizenship (both Chinese and Singapore), and I have gotten an almost perfect TOEFL score. As you know, Singapore's official language is English, while China's is not. Should I apply to highly selective colleges under the Singapore Citizenship (which puts me in a highly competitive pool of English speakers) or under the China Citizenship (which can demonstrate to the Admission officers that I have excelled in abilities of communication in a foreign environment? Please kindly note however, that Chinese students' integrity is being questioned these few years; this may be negatively reflected in my application if i do actually apply under Chinese citizenship).

By Seeker (Seeker) on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 09:55 am: Edit

I don't think most people around here will know about how Singaporeans are really viewed by adcoms. In any case, however, if you have been in the Singaporean school system, I think you will be compared against Singaporeans no matter what citizenship you put down on application forms. However, if you indicate in your essays/answers that you grew up in China and had to master English in only a few years in a foreign school system (i.e. Singapore's) you will be viewed positively for your efforts. Adcoms will probably also forgive slightly lower verbal scores. However, if you're unlucky, there'll be other ex-PRCs who have very high verbal scores applying along with you, and they may edge you out. Good luck anyway.

By Binarydigit1010 (Binarydigit1010) on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 11:51 am: Edit

TOEFL scores arent important, they r merely a formality. if u cross the min TOEFL score reqd, ure fine, but after that adcoms don't bother about it, that's what SAT's r there for

By Rosarosaef (Rosarosaef) on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 04:04 pm: Edit

i am assuming that you speak and write chinese natively; in which case, i'd tell them your situation exactly. however, i would present english as your second language (chinese spoken in the home, etc) even if this is not quite the case. regardless of your toefl score, you will need to submit SATs in order to be seriously considered at top institutions. but a low verbal score could be justified if english is presented as your second language.
american colleges want bicultural, bilingual, even multilingual students. the asians who get screwed in this country are the assimulated asian-americans who never learned the language of their family's origin. they are in a pool containing too many qualified applicants. so some of the first questions colleges ask of a chinese-american applicant is "do you speak chinese? did you go to chinese school? how long? diploma?". if the anwers are no, they've lost a big opportunity to bring something to the table that the colleges want. they have to be that much better in other aspects of their records. this is of course racist. colleges don't hold hispanic-americans to a similar standard. in the bizarre world of american racism, a qualified student could probably change his name to 'pedro' and pretend he's hispanic (there's no incentive for them to check) and get a scholarship. they're looking under rocks for qualified hispanics and what do they find when they roll away the stones? more asians. [just as an aside: before you wax indignant about american racism, try any other country on earth. borders are racist. and they are everywhere.]
a dual citizen of china and singapore who speaks english. you sound like a man of the world with the ability to explain the world to american suburban kids who have never been anywhere. be proud of all your cultural dimensions. american colleges value them (you still need grades, etc). i can't comment on the singaporean applicant pool. i can tell you that if you use the option of applying from china, there's a flood of undergrads from taiwan, but relatively few from pr china (tons of graduate students though). other things being equal, you'd probably find more interest in you as a pr chinese than as a taiwanese. however, you will also meet official resistance and indifference to your american applications from the pr chinese school system. be prepared to spend A LOT OF TIME on it. good luck.

By Cornellian07 (Cornellian07) on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 07:36 pm: Edit

You should say you're a Chinese resident. This way, your english test scores will look better, since they'll think that english is not a native language. Also, Singaporeans are notorious for being amazingly competitive applicants. I have a friend in Singapore who thinks he has no chance at any ivies, because his SAT was "only" 1450 in 10th grade. He has really just been blinded by the fact that America is not one hundredth as competitive as Singapore. So if you say you're chinese, it'll make you in a higher percentile of competitiveness among your country's applicants, if you know what I mean.

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