Admissions officers from premier American universities are scouring China to recruit top high school students who might dismiss such colleges as out of reach or unaffordable, reports the Boston Globe. Schools such as Harvard, Brown, and Stanford are touting the value of a liberal arts education, research opportunities, and American dorm life to Chinese students and their parents–and even promising full scholarships. Don’t be fooled by the teenager’s slender frame and wire-rimmed glasses. His name is Tiger–and he’s an American high school student’s worst nightmare. The 16-year-old junior, as adept at proving geometry theorems as he is at defending a soccer shot, has set his sights on Harvard University–and Harvard, on him. Just last month, Tiger and dozens of China’s brightest students gathered in a five-star hotel blocks from Tiananmen Square for the final round of a math contest that planted the Crimson flag firmly in the world’s most populous nation. They competed under the watchful gaze of William Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s admissions dean, who has handpicked undergraduates for three decades. Students such as Tiger, or Li Taibo in Chinese, represent the future face of elite American colleges, their greatest hope as they vie to maintain international dominance. It’s especially true for Harvard, as it tries to elevate the profile of its math and sciences to be on par with its legendary humanities program. "There are no quotas, no limits on the number of Chinese students we might take," Fitzsimmons told a standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 students during a visit to Beijing No. 4 High School. "We know there are very good students from China not applying now. I hope to get them into the pool to compete." That message is disconcerting for American students toiling to land a coveted spot in Harvard’s 1,660-student freshman class–and controversial among some educators. But Fitzsimmons and others say they had better get used to the idea. Applications from China have exploded in recent years as the Communist country opens up to the world, and they’re only going to increase…

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