According to statistics, this year’s recipients of the half scholarship at USC from China totaled to about 10 students, which is inconsequential to the total number of applicants globally (39,000), suggesting the difficulty of getting to it would actually match with that of getting into Harvard.
Aside from receiving an offer from USC, Yunshan was also accepted to her “second dream school” – that being Barnard College at Columbia University in the City of New York. This Ivy League institute has been the dream of many, and its total number of acceptance in the Chinese population this year has reached a new low – only six got in through its RD program.
Besides this, Yunshan also received offers from UCLA, UVA, BU, alongside a plethora of offers from other top institutions, towering herself with achievements. Holding a GPA of 7 (perfect score) for three consecutive years, a TOEFL score of 114, and a SAT score of 1510…… with such perfect stats on her application, it is not surprised for her to get the attention of the admission officer at any institution she was applying to.
However, Yunshan has refused to give herself labels: those like “the genius student”, “god of taking exams” do not belong to her at all. Her dream is simple enough, that is to grow up care-free, feel the colorfulness of life that one at age deserves to have, and eventually have her dream come true naturally without the “burden” of having to work on exam practice and attend additional lessons to boost on inferior stats. This all sounds a bit “unrealistic”; however, at Huijia, she managed to do it.
The Grade 6 U.S. Study Abroad Program – a choice that could impact the choice of a lifetime
Yunshan Qin arrived at Huijia in Grade One.
Her parents are both highly educated talents graduated from the top universities in China. And just because that, they know the flaws to the traditional exam-prepping education system better than anyone. They’ve always hoped their daughter could grow up carefree and happily, in preparation to step into the larger world out there. For this reason and after getting to know the educational ideology and curricular system of Huijia, they determinedly sent their daughter to Huijia.
First time arriving at Huijia, Yunshan fell in love with the place. “I couldn’t imagine at the time that my school actually had a golf course, a swimming pool, and even a horse racing field!” Even now, she could still clearly remember her excitement when she was first arrived at the school.
“For me then, studying should’ve always been like that, something undull and interesting.” In her six years in the elementary, her grades had strictly always been the first place in her division (class).
But for Yunshan, the most memorable part of her journey was the ten months of study abroad in the U.S. when she was in Grade Six.
The Huijia U.S. Study Abroad Program, was founded in 1995. Every year, any student fluent in English in Huijia’s Sixth Grade would have the chance to attend the Glendale School located in the city of Los Angeles in Southern California, where students would be separated to be in different homeroom divisions and receive a ten-month immersive English training. Aside from this, going out on weekends is also a crucial part of the U.S. study abroad program. Faculty members at the Huijia U.S. Study Abroad Center would arrange various types of local visits, including those to the museums, planetariums, parks, famous institutions and such, assisting students to understand the country as well as its local culture in depth, prepping them for their future studies abroad.
Yunshan said, it was during her period of studying abroad in the States that she, for the first time, walked straight into two top institutes of the U.S. – University of Southern California and University of California, Berkeley. Their beautiful campuses, strong academic spirits, and the lively diversity of their respective cities…. all these were prompting Yunshan’s fascination.
From that point on, she conceived the dream of going to one of these reach institutions in the future to herself.
The Dream School That is Actually the Right Fit – just after the bubble of dream was broken
When choosing where to apply for college, Yunshan had her hesitation.
After all, Yunshan’s grades had always been the first place throughout middle school and high school. She held a GPA of 7 (perfect score) for three consecutive years, a TOEFL score of 114, and a SAT score of 1510……
And after all, every student of excellence had an “Ivy League” dream.
Head of the Huijia College Advisory Center Nashuang Yang said:”our perspective towards offering guidance is to empower the students to find the schools that they are the best fit to and not to blindly go after rankings. We hope that Huijia students will achieve both academically and a high-quality life in college.”
Ms. Yang said, the so-called “fit” implies that one needs to first understand the self. Understanding the interests, hobbies, learning abilities, and even the weaknesses of the self. Second, one would need to understand the environment – not only the learning environment of their future university but also their own position with regards to the entire Chinese international pool of applicants.
Yunshan consulted with Ms. Yang for over three months in total. At first, she was preparing her essays passionately, where she then found all her plans being “turned down.” “Every time visiting the college advisory center was a chance to uncover part of myself. Despite the initial ‘pain’ of doing that (since nobody could see themselves through a strictly objective lens), my counsellor had helped me find the right direction.”
After attending the summer programs at UChicago and Harvard, she understood better what should be “the universities of the right fit” for herself. Even though Yunshan had completed both summer programs at the highest possible academic standings, that feeling could only be understood and processed in her own mind. ”My dream college life should have matching properties as to my life here at Huijia: I should be able to both learn well and not miss any of the wonderful opportunities my college life could offer.”
Yunshan was the first on the left
At the Huijia College Fair, Yunshan met the admissions officer from USC. The two talked for a long time and each left a very deep impression on the other. At the end of their conversation, the admissions officer tole her, “I hope to see you on the day of commencement in 2018!” That dream that was hidden deep down finally came out and sound.
“Alum mentor actually helped!”
Yunshan has always had two “dream schools.” Aside from USC, she also couldn’t ba=urry her wish to attend another institution – Barnard College at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Perhaps those who are persistent in pursuing their dreams are always blessed. When applying to Columbia, Yunshan got into contact with Niantong Gong, a later alum mentor of Yunshan. Niantong was accepted to Barnard College at Columbia back in 2017, and she provided a handful of first-hand materials for Yunshan at Columbia.
From study to life, majors to teachers, learning environment to the New York City, and even those precious lessons from application…… Yunshan suddenly felt like she had made her steps into the gate of Columbia. These materials and information was really treasuring for her, since, as known, not all information can be acquired from the admissions officers.
Conversation between Yunshan and her mentor Niantong
Yunshan had much believed that Columbia University would be that school that has the best fit for her. After completing the refinement on her seventh version of the application essay, Ms. Yang said three words, “you have it.”
Eventually, she received the offer that had once only existed in her dream and became one of the six lucky receivers of the Barnard’s offers to China during the RD period.
I am “Huijia’s Girl”
Yunshan briefly mentioned a period of time when she was tutoring English, and this part of her experiences was almost forgotten by herself; it instead became a necessary highlight that had helped her successfully attain the offer from UCLA.
Because she had never been to training outside school yet still obtained the score of 114 on the TOEFL test, she wrote an article sharing her experience learning the English language. In only one day, views exceeded ten thousand. Since then, more and more English learners started to contact her online. She was thinking at the time that she should helped them in a more systematic fashion. She created a group, periodically tutoring these English learners, assigning them homework materials, and helping them solve hard problems…… her “students” included not only youths in their careers but also students still in elementary.
Yunshan said, her original intent was simple – to retain her love for writing and share. If her English is great, why couldn’t she share her lessons with more people who are actively seeking to improve their English skills? This quality of social responsibility was not fostered in one night. Growing up, she took part in many community service events of different scale, and all her surroundings have seemed to be telling her that everyone is a part of the community: what could you do for it? This is a conceptual nurturement, which slowly became the instinct of her actions.
I have seen many Huijia girls, and they are all similar in some ways: they not only have a place in their respective clubs but also have excellent learning habits. Most importantly, they are all very happy.
Yunshan said, her cousin was studying at a public school, which in comparison, she herself could be obviously more contented and have more time to develop her comprehensive skillsets. She who loves writing and photography used to be the leader of the magazine club; she who also enjoys economics chose advanced courses in economics in high school. She who even “loves (dealing with) money,” got involved in many opportunities to act as the accountant for many charitable events.
Yunshan’s article got published in the newspaper
Yunshan said she hope to take on Communications and Economics as her two majors, which have also been some of the best and most popular majors in both Barnard at Columbia and USC.
During her USC scholarship interview, Yunshan left a profound impression to the admissions officer with her fluent English deliveries and broadened vision and thinking. USC’s Department Chairman commented on her as such:” you are very well-expressed student full of forward momentum. You broad views have impressed me, and hope to see you at USC!”
As for now, all her dreams conceived while at Huijia have come true. These dreams, having been realized so naturally, made her feel extremely lucky towards her 12 happy years here when looking back. She has never let down her youth, and more dreams are still on her way.
Let us bless this Huijia girl into having a journey ahead of liveliness and being able to celebrate while progressing into the future.
Second on the right is Yunshan Qin