The Acceptance of Gaokao Scores in the US Continues to Rise

Many are familiar with how much weight the Gaokao holds; for those who are not, Gaokao is a two day test in June that millions of Chinese students in mainland China prepare diligently to take- typically in their senior year of high school. Gaokao is China’s National College Entrance Examination and can “make or break” a student’s chance at getting into a Chinese university. The higher the score, the better the odds of getting into a university will be. There’s even a Chinese saying on the Gaokao that says “one point higher can beat a playground of students.” To avoid a gap year in the event of not receiving high enough scores, and acceptance into a Chinese school, students are now also easily applying to US universities that accept Gaokao scores.

Gaokao scores are a primary determiner for Chinese universities, however, the number of universities in the US that are exploring the option of “test-flexible policies” continues to increase, and institutions that are accepting Gaokao scores in place of ACT or SAT results are also on the rise. As of Summer 2019 more than 1,000 accredited colleges and universities support test-optional admissions according to Fairtest, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing. When it comes to Gaokao specifically, universities in the US that already accept the exam’s scores primarily consist of private schools. In June 2018 the University of New Hampshire became the first state university to accept Gaokao scores, and last month University of Oregon, University of Tulsa and Rochester Institute of Technology were the latest schools to announce their acceptance of Gaokao scores (in combination with an InitialView interview and writing sample) in their international student application process. Allowing Gaokao scores, and implementing flexible test policies in general means that students can bypass other standardized tests.

“Over the course of the last several admission cycles, many students outside of the US have met with challenges in accessing test sites,” Patricia Peek, dean of undergraduate admissions at Fordham University said in an article for The Pie News. “We, along with other institutions, want to promote access for these students by adopting test-flexible policies.”

Many universities in both Canada and Australia already accept Gaokao scores in their application process, and as more and more universities embrace the test-flexible policy, and Gaokao specifically, it raises the question on if this move will increase the number of international student applicants from China. Share your thoughts on if you think it will have an impact on the number of inbound students from China.

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