What kind of education is the ideal education? —— How does UWC look at university admission results?
What kind of education is the ideal education? —— How does UWC look at university admission results?

“Schools should have a greater purpose beyond preparing young people for college and university.”


——Kurt Hahn, Founder of UWC, German Educator



During the past few weeks, students who applied for overseas universities have more or less received admission results. Many high schools have shared the good news and announced the results. Meanwhile, various rankings of high schools have also been released. As a newly founded school, UWC Changshu China has received a lot of attention since this year we have our inaugural graduating class. The results of our students also appeared in some of the ranking lists although the information was neither complete nor accurate. UWC Changshu China has achieved outstanding results despite of its short history of just two years.


Mark Jiapeng Wang, founder and Chair of UWC Changshu China, would like to take this opportunity to share some of his thoughts regarding the admission results and his view on education.


Congratulations to UWC Changshu China’s founding class on their outstanding achievements


This year, UWC Changshu China will have its first graduating class. Our students have received offers from many leading universities and colleges around the world. Among them are six Ivy League colleges including Harvard, Princeton and Yale, as well as some leading liberal arts colleges such as Amherst and Williams and other top universities and colleges in the US, Europe and China. The majority of our students received college offers with full or nearly full scholarships. This is vital for UWC students, given the fact that a high portion of them are on scholarships at UWC. Several students are still waiting for admission results from European colleges; others have decided to take a gap year, which is common among UWC students.


UWC Changshu China will not release the full list of university offers to the public. We are proud to offer quality education to our students, who come from very diverse backgrounds. Our School and counsellors strive to help our students find colleges that suit them the best and do not promote internal competition and comparisons. We are happy about the college admission results as we believe most of our students have been admitted and will be going to universities and colleges that best support their continued growth and development.


I would like to congratulate all students from the class of 2017 on their remarkable and hard-won achievements!


I would also like to thank all the parents. Thanks for entrusting your children to us two years ago. We have been able to deal with lots of challenges successfully because of your trust and support for the past two years. Today, I am very proud of the achievements your children have made and their contributions to the UWC family.


A good fit is more important than ranking. The educational philosophy of UWC attaches more importance to the impact on students’ growth and society.


UWC education does not value one’s success based on whether or not the student gets into the “Ivy League.” We encourage our students to find the most suitable schools for themselves. We hope that our students have more ambitious goals and dreams in mind instead of setting their goal as merely getting accepted to universities. At UWC, we offer an atmosphere of mutual support, mutual encouragement, sharing and friendship. Regardless of which university they are going to attend, it represents a new chapter of their lives.


It is particularly worth mentioning that we have a student from “Dandelion Secondary School” from Beijing graduating this year, Zhihong Li. He used to study at a school for children of migrant workers and came to UWC with limited knowledge of English. One can imagine how many challenges and difficulties he had to face. In spite of countless obstacles, he has now not only finished the IB courses but also received full scholarship from a liberal arts college in the US due to his determination and hard work and all the help from his teachers.


Students like Zhihong are all around UWC campuses. UWC education, an education that strives to have an enormous impact on society, has changed their lives, encouraging more and more “dandelions” to work hard and giving them hope for a new life. Such impact can never be represented by any rankings. UWC aims to unremittingly minimize the inequality of education through the efforts of our school, our students and the society as a whole.


We are pleased to see that many parents and students have shown their appreciation for our educational philosophy. They value the experience under UWC education rather than just the admission result. Therefore, aside from achieving excellent results in academic studies, our students are truly devoted to public services, spending a lot of time participating in community service, regardless of personal gains and losses. More and more leading universities and liberal arts colleges are showing appreciation and preference for our students and providing generous financial support.


When I was visiting Harvard University last week, Vice President Tamara Rogers and other board members expressed their support to the educational philosophy of UWC. William Kirby, the former Dean of College of Arts and Science of Harvard University and President of Harvard China Foundation, emphasized that “education” is not “training.” Education needs to unleash students’ curiosity, develop critical thinking skill, encouraging students to think from different perspectives, solve problems and gain a lifelong learning ability. He thinks that UWC is doing exceptionally well in terms of high school education.


Why do scholarships matter for many UWC students?


For many students from international schools, they have the privilege to choose high ranking universities without hesitation while applying for overseas universities. However, it is more important for most UWC students whether or not the schools offer scholarships. At this point, I may need to introduce where our UWC students come from and why scholarships matter to so many of our students.


UWC students are selected by national committees from more than 150 countries around the world. Each campus has students from more than 80 countries and regions.


UWC Changshu China was founded in 2015, with students from grade 10 to grade 12. UWC Changshu China is not just another new international school in China for the privileged only. We do have students who can pay for the tuition, but most of our students come from working class families or even from migrant workers family. Among international students, some of them are from developed countries while others are from underdeveloped or even countries at war. The majority of our students receive partial or full scholarships so the question of whether or not they can obtain scholarships naturally becomes a crucial consideration when applying for universities.


The educational philosophy of UWC is still relevant and such education model requires a diverse group of students. 


Looking back, it is not difficult to understand why UWC values the diversity of students.


Fifty-five years ago when the first UWC school was founded, the educational philosophy of UWC had already been determined. Regardless of nationality, color, religion, family and social class, UWC only cares for ideals and values. It is the ideal of the founder and the never changing determination that makes UWC a unique education institution.


Although half a century has passed, the ideal of UWC not only has been tested by time but also is becoming more and more important in a time when sustainability and peace remain the major challenge for human beings. Nowadays, we are faced with challenges which include the increasing inequality on a global scale, the disparity in educational resources, the rise of nationalism, climate change, the worsening refugee problem, and escalating conflicts between countries. UWC is bearing a responsibility greater than ever.


What is the purpose of education?


We, as educators, all need to think about what the purpose of education is and what kind of young people we want to bring up through education.


I believe that the young people we are educating should be keen to change the world for the better and contribute to peace and sustainability by uniting more and more people to join hands to work for the common goal.


What kind of education is the ideal education?


A journalist once asked me in my mind what the ideal education stands for?

My answer was that the ideal education could enable a young man/women to have a great sense of happiness and integrity as an independent person.


The journalist also asked me what makes UWC students unique.

I answered without hesitation, “UWC students have a particularly strong sense of happiness!


It is critical for teenagers aged 16 to 19 to develop outlooks on life and the world around them. UWC education aims to help them establish a positive attitude on life and worldview, to create a multi-cultural environment for them to be prepared for future challenges while bearing in mind their ideals. They should be compassionate, loving and caring, embrace and understand the beauty of diversity. Their sights are set beyond their trivial gains and losses and beyond the pursuit of personal achievement. They are optimistic, confident, tenacious and willing to accept any challenge. Their happiness derives from the pursuit of a meaningful life, helping the people and communities around them, their dedication to society, and from the effort they make for promoting understanding between peoples and nations.


I believe that the development of a society requires a group of people with ideals. The magnitude of problems of a global scale needs to be tackled through the mutual understanding and cooperation between young peoples from different nations who are dedicated to make the world a better place.


Ideals bring hope. UWC is a school where teenagers nurture their dreams. I hope all of your dreams will come true! I firmly believe that UWC will grow from a little sprout to a gigantic tree in the mainland of China so long as we adhere to the educational philosophy of our founder and never give up.


In the end, I would like to quote the former President of UWC, Nelson Mandela, “The striking feature of UWC is that they embrace the entire world. They are unique, and they are conscious of their responsibilities.”


I wish that every one of our graduates will always be aware of his/her responsibility, bears in mind and lives UWC mission.