In the news: Chinese students looking for the elite American boarding school experience, Marvelwood School, a U.S. boarding school, said to be disillusioned

Poor English

Chang applied to transfer from Marvelwood to a Pennsylvania private school with fewer Chinese students, he said. It rejected him due to his poor English, he said.

“Most of the Chinese students wanted to transfer,” said 18- year-old Yu-Tung Cheng, also from Taiwan, who was valedictorian of Marvelwood’s 2011 class and is now a freshman at theUniversity of Wisconsin[27]. “Then we found out the process of transferring was really complex, and most of us gave up.”

Neither Marvelwood, her parents, nor her “A” average could deter Guan Wang from transferring. “It’s easy to get good grades at Marvelwood,” said Wang, who enrolled there in January 2009. “It’s not a really strict school. The education level was below what the agent promised.”

After two terms, Wang decided to switch to the all-girls’ Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut, in September 2009. More selective than Marvelwood, Ethel Walker admits 66 percent of applicants, according to[28], which compiles self-reported data from schools.

More Scenic

Her parents, who work in energy companies in China, balked at first. “They said, ‘You just got here, stay where you are.’ Finally I told them my reasons. They support me,” Wang said.

Marie Gold, chair of the English Language Learners’[29] department, tried to persuade her to stay. Gold told her that Marvelwood’s rural surroundings were more scenic than Simsbury, an affluent Hartford suburb, Wang said. Gold didn’t respond to e-mailed questions.

At Ethel Walker, which doesn’t specialize in working with learning-disabled students, Wang was one of two Chinese students in her grade, she said. She graduated in June and is a freshman at the University of California, Davis, majoring in environmental science and management.

“I loved the Ethel Walker School,” she said. “The American students were very friendly and studied very hard.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Golden in Boston at[30]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Kaufman at[31]

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