FAQs

How many students apply to PiB each year and how many attend? What are my chances?

How many students apply to PiB each year and how many attend? What are my chances?

Based upon statistical trends from the last 10 years, PiB receives several hundreds of applications every year from all around the world and we have an attendance of about 150 every summer. However, that number is not set in stone.  The earlier you apply, the higher your chances.

I will not be able to attend PiB for the full eight weeks of the program. What should I do?

I will not be able to attend PiB for the full eight weeks of the program. What should I do?

If you know in advance that you won’t be able to attend class for the full eight weeks, you should not apply. Given the amount of material studied each day, it will be impossible for you to make up the classes.

I am a working professional. Is PiB suitable for me?

I am a working professional. Is PiB suitable for me?

PiB is for anyone who is serious about learning Chinese.  Whether a thirty-something-year-old can fit into the social environment of PiB depends largely on individual personality, disposition, and goals.  Some older students have no problem, while others feel isolated.  Some don't mind the age gap, others do.  This is something that you will have to think about and evaluate for yourself.

I have never studied Chinese formally but I have knowledge of Chinese. Do I meet PiB's application requirements?

I have never studied Chinese formally but I have knowledge of Chinese. Do I meet PiB's application requirements?

As long as you have the equivalent of at least a year of college-level Chinese, you are eligible to apply for PiB. Whether or not you are admitted, and to which level, will depend on the admissions committee's evaluation of your application.  If you do go, we certainly recommend that you take Chinese in the term before PiB if at all possible.

I have an "imbalance" in my knowledge of Chinese - I can read but can't speak, or can speak but can't read or write very well.

I have an "imbalance" in my knowledge of Chinese - I can read but can't speak, or can speak but can't read or write very well.

Some applicants may speak Chinese at home or have knowledge of Chinese characters (from Cantonese, Japanese, etc.). In this case we ask you to apply for the class that best matches your LOWEST skill level, even if this means that some parts of the course will be easy for you. You should also note that, no matter what level you apply for, the PiB faculty will make the final decision on which level you take; this decision is based on your performance in placement tests that are given in Beijing at the beginning of the program.

What does PiB look for in its applicants?

What does PiB look for in its applicants?

Our criteria are good motivation, good aptitude, solid earlier training, and strong need for learning Chinese.  We look for strength in the basics of the language, including accurate pronunciation.

When is the earliest date I can send in my application?

When is the earliest date I can send in my application?

Applications will be made available during late October. You may apply as soon as you wish. To avoid the rush and to leave time for mail delays and such, we recommend that you try to send your application in a month before the deadline. (If you are a first-year student applying for second-year Chinese, your application will be stronger if you can show at least a partial record of your first-year study.)

How long will it take for an application to be evaluated?

How long will it take for an application to be evaluated?

Most applicants will be notified of decisions in mid to late February. For some applications, though, we cannot say firmly "yes" or "no" after the first evaluation is done.  These applications are wait-listed pending further information on the student, on the number of spaces available, or on the competitive pressures of the course the student is applying to.

How can I improve my chances of getting in?

How can I improve my chances of getting in?

The best way to improve your chances is by completing your application at an early date -- before December 31, if possible. In past years most applications have come in very near the January 31 deadline. Since admissions are handled on a rolling basis, and since we receive many excellent applications, we usually have to deny admission to many highly qualified candidates. Submitting your application well ahead of the deadline will not only improve your chances but also make our job easier.

The only exception to this rule is that of students in their first year of Chinese study. Waiting until you have a solid enough foundation to turn in an audio tape with few errors in pronunciation and tones may mean that first year students would be better served by turning in applications in early January.

I am a first-year student without course grades. Do I still need to submit a transcript and what should I do about my grades?

I am a first-year student without course grades. Do I still need to submit a transcript and what should I do about my grades?

If you have final grades for the fall term at the time you apply, you must submit an official transcript. (Princeton students--but only Princeton students--may substitute a print-out from SCORE.) If you have not finished the fall term at the time you apply, give us an unofficial record of your mid-term grades, for example by print-out from your own school's website. If your school does not provide midterm grades, you may submit your application without this record, as long as you include a note that your transcript will follow. In either case, once you finish the fall term, please have an updated, official transcript sent to the PiB office. We cannot finish processing your application until we have received an official transcript.

I am having trouble getting in touch with my Chinese teacher for a recommendation. What should I do?

I am having trouble getting in touch with my Chinese teacher for a recommendation. What should I do?

While we prefer a recommendation from your most recent Chinese teacher, we understand that getting such a recommendation is sometimes impossible. Hence we do accept recommendations from other teachers, supervisors, or persons who can accurately judge character, study habits, and suitability for the program.

Should the recommendation from my Chinese teacher be written in English or Chinese?

Should the recommendation from my Chinese teacher be written in English or Chinese?

Either is fine.

I'm living abroad and it may be several weeks to obtain transcripts. Can I have them sent to you directly from the institutions?

I'm living abroad and it may be several weeks to obtain transcripts. Can I have them sent to you directly from the institutions?

Yes. If you are living in an area where transcript would take weeks to arrive or the local postal service is unreliable, we will allow parts of your application to be sent in separately. As far as is possible, though, try to submit all your information at once.

I applied last year but wasn’t accepted or chose not to go. Do I need to start from scratch this year?

I applied last year but wasn’t accepted or chose not to go. Do I need to start from scratch this year?

If you have created an account before, you are still required to submit another application, along with application fee, a new recording, a revised transcript (if you have taken additional Chinese classes since then), any personal information that has changed, and, if you are applying for financial aid, you or your parents' most recent tax return and your home school's most recent needs analysis. All applicants’ files are kept for one year, but an online account is created for life.

If I am accepted, what kind of obligation am I under to attend?

If I am accepted, what kind of obligation am I under to attend?

If accepted, you will be asked to pay a $800 nonrefundable deposit to secure your position in the program. If your deposit does not arrive by the time specified, you will forfeit your position in the program. If you are accepted and choose not to attend, please inform us as soon as possible so that we can offer your place to someone else.

If I am accepted, will I be able to make living arrangements off campus with my spouse / child / pet?

If I am accepted, will I be able to make living arrangements off campus with my spouse / child / pet?

All students are expected to live on the BNU campus; this is one element of our "total immersion" program. PiB assigns each student to a single bed in a two-bed room. The other bed will usually be filled by another PiB student. If you and your spouse are both accepted into PiB, you will be given a room together. If you are married and your spouse is not a PiB student, it is your responsibility to make housing arrangements for him/her. Likewise, PiB is unable to accommodate children or pets of PiB students.

I'm not a Princeton University student. How do I obtain my transcript at the end of the program?

I'm not a Princeton University student. How do I obtain my transcript at the end of the program?

Please visit the Transcript section and you will find a link to our Registrar's Office with instructions on how to submit a Transcript Request PDF Form.