Cambridge University in 2014. (Photo: VCG)
Cambridge University in the UK acknowledged on Monday on its Weibo account that it did consider a Chinese student's score on the national college entrance exams known as the gaokao for new admissions, but also stressed that admissions are not only based on test scores but a comprehensive assessment of each applicant.
The response came after inquiries poured in over the last two days following news reports claiming Cambridge started accepting China's gaokao scores from new applicants.
The reports apparently raised hopes of many Chinese students and parents who thought entrance requirements to the storied university had now become somewhat easier.
Many netizens even joked if they could only retake their gaokao and get a better mark they would apply to the famed university.
The university, however, says it has considered gaokao scores for years, requiring a student to rank in the top 0.1 percent on the test in their province. Students also have to meet English language requirements and pass the still-required aptitude test known as IELTS.
"It is too difficult to achieve the score of 0.1 percent of our province ranking, and the university also takes other quality education into account like the Science Olympiad, which will take me a lot of time and energy," Hao Zhengyuan, a senior high school student in Changzhi, North China's Shanxi Province told the Global Times on Monday.
Many other netizens mistakenly thought gaokao scores would now be the only factor Cambridge would consider for acceptance, causing the university to add in Chinese: "Cambridge does not only consider the applicant's score but pays attention to a comprehensive assessment of each student based on the test scores."
The university also encourages Chinese students to participate in extracurricular studies, according to the university's website.
"It shows Chinese education is increasingly recognized internationally," a parent surnamed Chai, whose son attends the Affiliated High School of Peking University told the Global Times on Monday.
The gaokao generally lasts two days, and is probably the most important moment for most Chinese high school students, as their scores largely decide whether they can go to college and which college they can attend.
In addition to Cambridge University, there are six other prestigious universities in the UK that recognize gaokao scores, including Birmingham University, Leicester University, Kent University, Dundee University, Queen's University of Belfast and Cardiff University, The China News reported on Monday.
Cambridge official website shows 420 Chinese students are enrolled in undergraduate courses at the university, and a total of 754 Chinese students were enrolled as Master's between 2017 and 2018.
China is the world's leading source of international students, and 20 percent of Chinese students prefer to study in the UK surpassing the US at 17 percent abroad, according to a report on Chinese students who study abroad in 2019 by EIC Education in March.