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College Students Pragmatic

Shanghai local students are pragmatic about the education, but still extremely reliant on their parents to help them pick a university and a major, according to a survey of undergraduates at seven local universities.

Conducted by Fudan University, it surveyed 1,000 local students at Fudan, Jiao Tong, Tongji, Shanghai No. 2 Medical University, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Shanghai Teachers' University and Shanghai University of Science and Technology, as well as 180 parents.

"Nearly 70 percent of the students said the aim of higher education is to prepare students for a good job and prestigious social status," said Liu Chenggong, a Fudan official in charge of the survey, which was conducted in the fall semester of 2000.

About 90 percent of the parents said they believe the cost of higher education is an investment, and they expect to benefit from their children's wealth in the future.

Many parents don't just fund the children's education, they also help them make critical decisions.

"My parents' words are very influential to me," said Liu Yiting, a sophomore at Jiao Tong University. "I'm studying finance now because that's their decision."

The survey also revealed that a growing number of local students are considering post-graduate work to improve their career opportunities.

About 87 percent of the students said they plan to get a master's degree or doctorate in the future.

"Nowadays, it's common to hold a bachelor's degree because enrollment is expanding every year," said Miao Xiao, a Tongji student, adding that a third of his classmates are planning to take the entrance exam for graduate studies.

Most students want to stay in Shanghai and work in the IT sector, as business managers, or as civil servants, the survey suggests.

"About 70 percent of the students prefer to work in Shanghai because this dynamic city can offer a variety of opportunities for personal development," said Wang Lingfang, a student affairs official at Shanghai University of Finance and Econ-omics.

Students said they expect a monthly income of 2,150 yuan (US$259) after they graduate, according to the survey.

Xu Guangxin, a local professor of sociology, said that students are thinking more about themselves than society as a whole when they make educational decisions.

But about 39 percent of students said they are committed to the economic development of society as a whole, not just their own personal success, according to the survey.

(eastday.com January 23, 2002)

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