This study examines a new profession in China and those who inhabit it—admissions counselors who advise Chinese students on how to apply to colleges in the United States. This study was conducted in the international divisions of eight Chinese public high schools in five cities in China and aims to fill the void in our knowledge of the vital role of counselors in bridging the Chinese and American education systems, in a context of expanded college choice for the children of elites. The findings highlight the duality and dilemma of the positional advantages among elite parents in China in choosing international education while lacking the cultural capital to navigate the higher education system in the West. Elite parents transmit their dilemma and the associated anxieties to those positioned to help them—their counselors. Although the international education segment is still a small portion of the Chinese education system, it is part and parcel of neoliberal education reforms that are increasingly privatizing the education sector and emphasizing the service aspect of education administrators.
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