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When it comes to this career debate, Chinese students were more likely than European-American students — Americans of European descent — to choose to the “big pond,” research from the University of Michigan found.

Most Chinese students (58%) said they would prefer to be a “small frog” — that is, an average student at a top-10 ranked school, rather than a “big frog” in a small pond — an above-average student at a top-100 ranked school. Only 29% of European-American students made the same choice, the report, published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal Tuesday, said, largely because Chinese students value prestige more.

“Coming from cultures that place a heavy emphasis on prestige and obtaining an elite education, it makes sense for Asian internationals to vie for the big pond,” said lead author Kaidi Wu. “What this suggests is that it is not that people are following their idiosyncratic preferences or making an irrational decision; instead, they are making choices based on what makes the most sense given their sociocultural context.”