Huntsman Alumni Magazine Spring 2013

Spring 2013

Student Ran Duan's Research Illuminates Why Chinese Students Choose U.S. Universities

Chinese student Ran Duan interviewed 15 Chinese students at Utah State about why and how
they chose a U.S. university, for his marketing intelligence class project. Ran conducted the interviews, asked the students to complete a web-based questionnaire, and carried out secondary research on the topic, in the library, and online.

Ran concluded that with rising incomes in China, parents are “acutely aware that the Chinese educational system focuses too much on rote memorization and doesn’t give students enough training in morality and critical thinking, nor many choices for extracurricular activities.” Ran identified five top factors that influence Chinese students’ choices:

  1. University Ranking
  2. Tuition and fees
  3. Location
  4. The university's environment and culture
  5. Professors' expertise

The top two factors were most important, and most students preferred an urban setting. The students couldn’t learn much about the fourth and fifth factors until they arrived.

Only about 10% of Ran’s interviewees plan to stay long-term in the U.S., for three reasons: they aren’t willing to leave their families, “they can’t get used to the food,” and they think it may be harder to find a job here. Still, about 90% said they want to acquire a U.S. graduate degree before returning to China.