Why did I choose this direction?
As a Chinese international student myself, I've experienced many challenges when coming alone to a place where the culture is completely different from the place I grew up. I've always wanted to do projects relating to this area. In my first semester of senior year, I was focused primarily on how to help Chinese international students to acclimate to the cultures abroad. In the second semester, I found the concept of culture was too broad to be defined as individuals would have their own definition. I would like to work on projects that are actionable and realistic to help Chinese international students. Through interviews, I found that Chinese international students have difficulties finding unbiased and complete information when applying to schools abroad; therefore, I narrowed down my senior project to information sharing app about college applications.
What are the struggles Chinese international students have when applying?
From my 8 interviews with current and prospective Chinese international students, I found:
For Chinese students that plan on studying abroad, it can be difficult to find unbiased and complete information they can trust. Students mostly rely on three kinds of sources when they search for information about college applications:
1.Official school websites provide lots of information, but tend to market themselves instead of offering a real impression of student life.
2. Existing online forums provide a more informal point of view. Information is scattered and it’s hard to get a complete picture and usually requires a lot of time. Sometimes they can not even find the specific answers they need.
3.Students can pay thousands of dollars to private college counselors from educational agencies; but sometimes, even these services provide biased information, especially when they have quotas to fill, and only get paid when students have been enrolled.
From my research, I found an opportunity area...
How might we help prospective Chinese students with the school application process when the information about school life and the application process is biased and incomplete?