A New School of Thought in China

Zachary Bako for TIME

Lin, foreground, is part of the first class of students at Xing Wei, a liberal-arts college in Shanghai

Tina Lin was a model Chinese high school student, with good grades and dreams of attending a top university. Then she hit a wall: the gaokao, the all-important multiday examination that determines where all Chinese students go to college and even what subjects they can study. Lin's score was decent but not high enough for admission to the engineering or science program at an elite university. She struggled over what to do next until stumbling onto a new liberal-arts college, Xing Wei College in Shanghai, at a school fair. Lin joined Xing Wei's first incoming class of 30 students,...

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