When Harvard Becomes “Ha Fu”

In this opinion piece for Harvard Magazine, author Zara Zhang explains how Harvard came into fame in China.

Post_Harvard_in_China

Courtesy of Zara Zhang/Harvard Magazine.

Why do so many Chinese students and parents aspire to studying there?

How do the admission criteria in Chinese universities differ from those in the U.S. ?

“Mysterious” and “unreachable” are what most Chinese high-school students associate Harvard with, noticed Zhang in this piece.

This photo of students studying till 4am at Harvard library went viral on Chinese social media. But in fact, this photo wasn't taken at Harvard at all.

This photo of students studying till 4am at Harvard library went viral on Chinese social media. But in fact, this photo wasn’t taken at Harvard at all.

Below is an excerpt from the article.

“A sizable part of Harvard’s fame came from a 2000 bestseller, Harvard Girl Liu Yiting: A Character Training Record, written by a Chinese couple whose daughter was admitted to the College. The book, with its cover featuring a beaming Liu posing with her letter of admission, describes the rigorous ways in which she was raised, and has since then been regarded as a parenting bible. It has also kindled the American dream in tens of thousands of impressionable Chinese youths—including me. Reading it during middle school was the first time I’d ever heard of such a place as Ha Fu and other “Ivy League” universities. It helped me realize that if I aspire to receive the best education in the world, the United States is the place to be. I still remember the day when I discovered, to my horror, that China’s top universities, Peking and Tsinghua, were ranked lower than fiftieth in the world.”

For full article, click here.

Zara Zhang is a Harvard rising junior and summer intern at Harvard Magazine. Zara is also an active blogger for China Personified.

Zara Zhang

Zara Zhang

Zara Zhang is a senior at Harvard. You can contact her at zhang08@college.harvard.edu.

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