Harvard should not favor international students

November 25, 2008 — by Brandon Yang

This year, colleges in the United States have been scouting and recruiting prospective students in China and other countries. At math contests and other competitions, high-performing teens have been offered scholarships to prestigious private colleges in the United States. Harvard, one of the schools most prominently recruiting, is hoping to boos¬t its reputation in the math and science departments.

Although this method gives more opportunities to students in other nations, the chances for citizens of the United States to gain entrance into a private college are greatly decreased. Because schools like Harvard receive funds from the U.S. government, colleges should have a preference to educate the next generation of Americans. Recruiting students from other countries is not only unfair to applicants here but also goes against the wishes of American taxpayers.

Even though students around the world deserve the chance to go to a prestigious college, schools should not favor students in one country over another country’s applicants. Although there are many students in China with potential who cannot afford college, an equal number of students in America face the same difficulties. Schools like Harvard should not be focusing overseas while the poor Americans students are left behind to fend for themselves.

Many citizens of the United States do not wish for their tax money to be used to pay for foreign students who, after finishing his or her education, will just return to their home country, essentially wasting the investments taxpayers make ¬for the future of America. Although these schools believe they are encouraging American students to work harder by providing competition, giving these “competitors” an unfair advantage hinders the efforts of native students.

Harvard may hope to recruit students from foreign countries who excel in math and science but should instead first focus on attracting bright minds from within the United States. This will ensure that students within the United States are also given an opportunity to attend the college of their choice—something that will not be achieved if top schools continue to recruit students from other countries over American applicants.

Although bringing in students from other nations may benefit the United States if the students stay, there should not be any favoritism; applicants from all countries should have to compete at the same level in order to succeed in education. If students from other nations wish to enter Harvard, they need to go through the same process as American students by applying and competing with everyone else. There should be no preference for foreign students.