Shanshan, from Qingdao, took both the ACT (US College Entrance Examination) and the Chinese College Entrance Examination (CEE). She was surprised by the great difference between the results she received. In the CEE she got just 490 points; her ACT result however, helped her secure places at four top American universities (DePauw, Lewis and Clark, Ohio State and the University of Iowa) and 1.2 million RMB in scholarship monies - a new ACT record.
Her disappointing CEE score disqualified her from entrance to top Chinese institutions. On June 28 her visa to the US was granted and she is now looking forward to her higher educational career in America.
She had feared the worst for them. "Compared with the ACT, our math exam is very hard," Shanshan commented. Although she performed well in English and Chinese, the Lizhong (biology, physics and chemistry) and `Integration Capability` were stumbling blocks.
Shanshan points out that in the ACT exam a student is tested on four different topics, making it different to the Chinese equivalent. "In our exam, we have to spend a lot of time doing Lizong exercises. "I learned all I needed in high school. What I lacked was just exam-taking skills(Shan was not fully prepared for the exam)."
Taking the two exams in succession, Shanshan realized the great difference both in selecting standards and admissions policies.
In the US, a student`s scores do not decide everything. They must prove themselves in other ways, including personal recommendations and other certificates that demonstrate their abilities. The American system also attaches more importance to creativity and organizational abilities.
On her application to De Pauw Shanshan was asked, "to describe a story or a person that may affect your future". Shanshan wrote about her father.
When she received her offer, the replying professor commented, "Thanks for telling us about your father`s experience. I was moved by his spirit, and hope you will follow his example and that it will lead you to success. I`m looking forward to seeing you on campus this September." Shanshan speculates that it was this personal story that made all the difference.
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