What? There is a college shortcut in China!


Daily Mail

Shirley Shuzhou Li, Staff Writer

When I was young, my dad always gave me the same advice: “You need to have good grades, so you can enter colleges and universities by your grades. So you don’t need to take the art-oriented test to enter college. Those are for students with bad grades.” I didn’t understand what was he talking about at first, but as time passed, I realized that in China there is a stereotypical opinion that “Art-oriented tests are for students with bad grades. They are a shortcut.”   

An art-oriented test is a uniform examination for art majors varying from dance, visual art, acting, and so on, which is held by China’s colleges and universities. The common stereotypical opinion came from the “lower score policy”– students who pass the art-oriented test could enter the college with a lower standardized test score. Although art-oriented students will have to pursue an art degree, people still commonly misconstrue this decision as merely a shortcut. I was one of them too.

I asked my cousin about this college “shortcut” since she wants to get to the top colleges that way. Instead, I found out the truth behind all the art-oriented test takers: it is not a shortcut at all. My cousin, as an Asian student, constantly receives information and pressure about how entering a top college will determine her life.

I interviewed her to learn details about the art-oriented test. “In August, we sat under the sun for 5 hours to practice watercolor and oil painting,” my cousin told me. “People nowadays don’t understand the sorrow and grief behind a student who takes the art-oriented test. We are constantly practicing and because of the heated trend, we need a far better score than the score people expected to enter our dream school. Not only do they underestimate the standardized test we need to achieve, but also how hard it is to pass the art-oriented test.”

According to China’s art colleges research, the top schools of art in China have extremely low acceptance rates. In 2017, the acceptance rate of the Central Academy of Drama was 0.4%. 9931 people applied, and 50 of them were excepted. In 2017, the acceptance rate of the Beijing Film Academy was 0.9%. 8526 people applied, and 75 of them were accepted. In 2017, the acceptance rate of the Shanghai Film Academy was 0.5%. 6127 people applied and 30 of them were accepted. These statistics show how hard it is to pass the art-oriented test.  

As a bystander, I strongly suggest people eradicate the stereotypical opinions about the test. Since people in China often assume it is so easy, they making life difficult for students who are actually serious about pursuing arts degrees. Because of the controversial trend, the standards for standardized test scores is continuously rising. The truth about these tests need to be revealed.