While students from China make up nearly one-third of all foreign students studying in the United States according to data compiled by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, some colleges and education institutions allege more and more Chinese applicants are committing various forms of fraud on their college applications.

In fact, the proportion of doctored applications may be as high as one in ten.

Timothy Pratt of the Hechinger Report has the story:

Concerns rise about cheating by Chinese applicants to U.S. colleges

TThe application essay from a student in China sounded much like thousands of others sent each year to the University of Washington at Seattle.

“‘I did this,” admissions officer Kim Lovaas remembers the essay saying, and, “‘I did that.’” Then she came to a phrase that stopped her short: “Insert girl’s name here.”

“I thought, ‘Did I just read that?’” said Lovaas, associate director for international student enrollment, admissions, and services. “To me, that was a really big red flag.”

The obvious clue in the essay was an indicator of a serious problem that’s not always so easy to detect: fraudulent applications from Chinese students seeking to get into U.S. colleges and universities.
dmissions officials and others have reported finding falsified high-school transcripts, discrepancies between English-language test scores and a Chinese student’s actual speaking ability, and phony letters of recommendation and essays.

As many as 90 percent of recommendation letters for Chinese applicants to western universities were falsified in 2011, the most recent period studied, according to the U.S. educational consulting firm Zinch China. Seventy percent of admissions essays were written by someone other than the applicants, the firm found, and half of secondary school transcripts were doctored.

Zinch has not updated those figures, and estimates of the extent of cheating vary widely, but admissions officials said that at least as many as one in 10 Chinese applications may include fraudulent material.

“Nobody has reliable data on how much it happens,” said Allan Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education.However, he added, there has been “a lot of discussion” at national meetings of registrars about preventing transcript fraud, an indication of the issue’s importance.