As the NYT reports, Indian students are having an increasingly tough time getting into top domestic universities:
This summer, Delhi University issued cutoff scores at its top colleges that reached a near-impossible 100 percent in some cases. The Indian Institutes of Technology, which are spread across the country, have an acceptance rate of less than 2 percent — and that is only from a pool of roughly 500,000 who qualify to take the entrance exam, a feat that requires two years of specialized coaching after school.
What that means is good news for US colleges looking for full-freight paying foreign students — and bad news for US high school students who must cope with a new wave of highly motivated and highly qualified competitors:
Indians are now the second-largest foreign student population in America, after the Chinese, with almost 105,000 students in the United States in the 2009-10 academic year, the last for which comprehensive figures were available. Student visa applications from India increased 20 percent in the past year, according to the American Embassy here.Although a majority of Indian students in the United States are graduate students, undergraduate enrollment has grown by more than 20 percent in the past few years. And while wealthy Indian families have been sending their children to the best American schools for years, the idea is beginning to spread to middle-class families, for whom Delhi University has historically been the best option.
The same trend is at work in China and South Korea, where insane competition for limited domestic higher education opportunities has forced many Asian students across the Pacific to America’s universities.US high schoolers and their parents, already driven to distraction by the competitive college entrance race, won’t welcome the news that the applicant pool is getting bigger, but this is the real world. Young people should not be reduced to soulless automatons and 24/7 homework machines, but US primary and secondary education needs to get more ambitious. Those kids in India, China and Korea aren’t just competing for college slots; in a few years they will be competing for jobs.America needs to tell our kids the truth about the competition out there — and we need to do much, much more to help students develop the personal strength and the academic skills that will allow them to go toe to toe with the best.