vericantVericant Providing Local Third-Party Interview Services for Students Applying to Private US High Schools
Editor’s note: Vericant is a China-based third-party, independent interview service that adds verified data through video interviews and writing samples. For more information, visit their website at


American author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, ” High school is closer to the core of the American experience than anything else I can think of.” In a variety of ways, high school has an even greater influence upon an individual’s personality than does college. As study abroad has increased in popularity, the average age of study abroad students has been falling, and more Chinese families are choosing to let their children study in the United States during high school. Aiming at this market, Vericant is an organization providing local third-party interview services for private US high schools.

Vericant was founded at the end of 2010, its four co-founders having met through playing ultimate frisbee in Beijing. Before we discuss what services Vericant provides, we should mention something else: Vericant is not an agency, nor is it an educational consultancy. As co-founder Kelly Yang told me, Vericant started off as an organization that brought Chinese families to the United States to help students conduct school visits. Since too many people thought the organization was an agency, they had no choice but to change their model.

It’s easy to explain Vericant’s services. They have exclusive partnerships with private high schools in the United States and Canada, and students applying to those schools can take part in a video interview through their services. Once completed, the interview is sent to the schools to review. The form of the interview is a fairly casual conversation of about 10 minutes in length, and Vericant does not tell students in advance what questions will be asked. The final question of the interview is asked in Chinese, showing students in their normal state without any linguistic barriers. Additionally, applicants are asked to complete a thirty-minute written essay that is also sent to schools. Vericant has currently set up testing locations in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

Why do US high schools need this type of service? There are two main reasons. First, applicants from China often come through agencies, and it’s fairly common for these agencies to produce falsified application materials. There’s no possibility of fraud in these interviews; Vericant uses National ID cards and passports to verify the identities of interviewees. The second reason is that US high schools place great value in certain factors outside of grades and test scores, and these interviews are a way to measure an individual’s overall abilities.

Vericant received a a round of capital investment in 2011, and the company’s next step is to enter the college market. According to their estimates, China currently has around 7000 students applying to US high schools every year, so the college market will be quite large in comparison.

But if Vericant wants to enter the college applicant market, they’ll face competitors in the space who have already gained some ground. This includes InitialView, a company we have previously reported on. There are two major differences between Vericant and InitialView. First is the fact that Vericant conducts mainly interviews for high school applicants, while InitialView specializes in college and job applicant interviews. The more important difference, however, is the nature of the cooperative agreements with schools. According to co-founder Kelly, Vericant currently has exclusive partnership agreements with 35 high schools, though InitialView has non-exclusive agreements with the colleges it works with. Vericant charges a RMB 2499 interview service fee that allows applicants to send their materials to any number of partner schools. InitialView charges RMB 600 for an interview. Kelly said that Vericant is considering adjusting their current service fee system from a flat fee to a per-school fee.

Aside from modifying its interview services, Vericant must take another look at its school partnerships if it enters the college applicant market. Whether public or private, the vast majority of US colleges and universities are non-profit organizations, and are unwilling to sign exclusive cooperative agreements with third-party service providers. Kelly revealed that although Vericant has not formally entered the college market, Claremont McKenna has already proactively requested a partnership with the company. This partnership is non-exclusive, and Vericant is one of several interview methods from which applicants are allowed to choose.


Date of Publication: 3/11/2013


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The US Study Abroad Interview Experience

by elbbj on March 7, 2013


Editor’s note: Vericant is a China-based third-party, independent interview service that adds verified data through video interviews and writing samples. For more information, visit their website at


The number of students going abroad from China has been ever increasing over the past few years, and parents are making plans very early on for their children to study abroad, resulting in a drop in the average Chinese study abroad student’s age.

Reporters conducted a spot interview with a Beijing family whose child is in the third year of elementary school. They said that they want to wait until he has graduated from middle school to send him abroad. Still, as soon as he had entered the first grade, they were already asking all over the place about how to apply to US high schools and what tests their son would need to take. Through three years of efforts, including training classes, summer camps, private tutors, and so forth, their child achieved good scores on the TOEFL and SAT.

Still, many parents are worried that with the increased number of high school applicants from China, the competition is especially strong. The children are already growing up in a testing-focused educational system, so getting high scores on tests isn’t anything new to them. “Many of the students who attended training courses with our child got TOEFL scores over 100 points, but their real levels weren’t as high as his, actually,” one of the parents told reporters.

Due to the ever-increasing number of Chinese applicants, US high schools have no choice but to rely on test scores to filter applicants. However, there are vast differences between the educational systems of the US and China. It’s not that US schools don’t want to find students with high test scores, but they are looking for students with truly strong abilities, students who will fit in at their schools and make real contributions. For this reason, schools are in great need of something more than scores, a more comprehensive standard for evaluating students.

Reporters found that a kind of third-part interview organizations is slowly emerging to address this situation, becoming a crucial platform for interviewing Chinese students preparing to study abroad in the US.

Cooperating mainly with numerous boarding schools in the US, Vericant is just this type of organization. Reporters quickly got in touch with a manager at Vericant, who said that thirty seven US high schools already use the organization’s video interview and written testing services for their applicants. Students taking part in Vericant interviews go to testing centers located in Beijing, Shanghai, or Shenzhen to complete the video interviews. About one week after the recording is completed, Vericant provides the student’s short interview video and on-site written test materials to the school. Reporters understand that many parents and students also approve of this interview process.

Reporters visited Vericant’s main offices and found a mother and daughter who came to complete the interview. They said they had made the appointment three days before, coming to the interview after preparing related materials and documents. According to the daughter, the interviewer behaved in a friendly manner, and the interview environment was calm and peaceful. She said she did alright, the interviewer was kind and warm, and the questions asked weren’t too difficult. She wasn’t anywhere near as nervous and scared as she thought she’d be.

Before leaving, reporters saw pairs of parents and students come in one after another to interview. Many parents said that sending students off to study abroad early, giving them more resources to compete with foreign students, is a great help to the children in preparing for university.


Original publication date: 3/1/13


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Beijing’s Chaoyang District Closing All Migrant Schools Over Next Two Years

January 14, 2013

Xinjingbao reports all eighteen migrant schools in the Chaoyang District of Beijing will be shut down over the next two years. In addition, construction will begin on three elementary schools and five kindergartens in the urbanizing rural areas, while admissions capabilities are expanded at existing facilities in order to manage the inflow of both local […]

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