CHINA VOICES | A bustling market for online college application support

By Heather Mowbray
4 min read
Baidu homepage. (Image credit: Big Photo/larich)

China’s gaokao—both a school leaving and college entrance exam—is one of the toughest exams in the world. Newly accepted as “suitable preparation” by renowned universities including Cambridge, most of those who sit it are competing for college places in their home country. The pressure doesn’t stop once they’ve sat the exams. Results in hand, there is only a short window at the end of June to get a spot at college. If you thought enrollment consultants were only needed for Chinese students headed abroad, you were wrong. Agents for domestic college applications, known as online application volunteers (literally “filling-in volunteers,” tian zhiyuan), are in high demand. AI Caijing writes in an unsigned article on how panicked parents are falling prey to dishonest consultants—and once again, Baidu is taking h

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