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Chinese Student College Demographics and How They Affect Your College Choices

By Peterson's Staff updated on Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If you're a student from China interested in going to a U.S. college, you should take a look at some general information about American colleges.

In particular, you may be interested in college demographics, which can give you a good understanding of the current status of international students in America. Whether you want to be with other international students or because you want to avoid other international students, or even just because you find it interesting, it's well-worth your time.

College admissions statistics: Chinese students at American universities

China has become the single greatest source of international students in the U.S.A. According to the Opendoors 2010 facts report on college demographics for international students, 127,628 students came from China to attend a U.S. college for the 2009/2010 school year.

Because of this, you're more likely to find some services and opportunities that might otherwise be unavailable. Many colleges have specific Chinese student organizations, and they are likely to have advisers who can help you become acclimated to life in the U.S.A. with as little difficulty and frustration as possible.

Universities and colleges might even actively take steps to provide scholarships and other funding opportunities for students from China as a result of these college demographics. You should be certain to take advantage of these opportunities.

On the other hand, because of the shift in college student demographics, you are also likely to encounter somewhat more competition from students from your own country when applying to any given American school, in addition to the competition you'll face from students in America and other countries.

Furthermore, if you are looking for an environment that is a major change from home, then going to schools with college demographics biased towards significant Chinese populations might not be ideal for you.

So in the end, knowing that Chinese students make up the majority of international students in America can mean different things for you, based on what you find most important about college demographics.

College demographics point to Chinese student concentrations

The states of the U.S.A. with the greatest concentrations of international students are:

  • California
  • New York 
  • Texas 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Illinois


In general, it's a safe bet to say that the colleges in America with the highest populations of international students are also likely to have the highest populations of Chinese international students.

This is not to say that these schools are the best for international students automatically, however. That decision very much depends on what you consider most important to you. If you want to go to a school with a small population of international students, so as to be completely immersed in a foreign culture, you should seek out a university or college with a smaller international student population.

Furthermore, these schools have the largest international student populations because they are larger schools; if you are interested in a smaller school, then you will inherently encounter a smaller international student population there.

College demographics and you

If you're interested in finding any more information concerning international students in America, you should take a look at the Institute of International Education, paying close attention to Open Doors information.

About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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