It was just a week after Chang Shui received her acceptance notice from Harvard that the first book offer came.
A publisher approached her father with a detailed outline for an inside guide to how a Shanghai couple prepared their daughter to compete successfully with the best students from America. Local newspapers weighed in with articles about how Chang’s membership in a dance troupe surely helped. “Magical girl ‘danced’ her way into Harvard,” the Shanghai Evening Post headlined its story.
Qibao High School, where Chang is a senior, trumpeted the news on a large electronic billboard at the front gate. The day that she received her acceptance notice — by e-mail at 5 a.m. April 2 — teachers at the high school crowded around to have their picture taken with her.
“She was a celebrity,” boasted her homeroom teacher, Xiong Gongping.
“I’m not exactly a celebrity,” Chang said, interjecting a note of modesty. “But it is true that more students are approaching me wanting to know how to go to college in the United States.
“And for the parents, it’s their dream to send a kid to Harvard or Yale.”