While local students are now used to overseas winter camps one overseas study agency has an interesting new approach.
The Shanghai Huaqiao International Education Service Co. Ltd. is looking for students to join a 16-day winter camp where the applicants will get to study and sit for the American college admission test (the Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT).
The students will attend a closed-door intensive training program at Rowland Heights High School in Los Angeles before they sit the formal SAT.
Camp organizers will help students through the entire SAT application process and test results will be mailed back afterwards.
The students then will be taken for a tour around the United States, taking in Disneyland, Sea World in San Diego, Harvard University in Boston and major scenic spots in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
The camp next year will cost 49,900 yuan (US$6,685) and it is open to 30 students aged between 15 to 17 with no academic requirements needed.
Agency managers said that major purpose of the camp was to help students, who intend to apply for US universities, win seats for the SAT.
"SAT applications have grown dramatically in the city in recent years and the market is big," said Zhu Weiqi, a Huaqiao manager. "We've been trying to open such a camp for a long time but it has been difficult because of visa restrictions."
The number of local students taking SATs rose from 50 people in 2003 to about 900 people last year. The figure has already exceeded 1,500 so far this year, according to New Oriental Shanghai, the only SAT training provider in the city.
The test, however, is only available in Hong Kong in China - which has forced many students looking to study in the United States to move to neighboring Asian countries for SAT opportunities.
"But seats for tests of the first half of next year have already been booked up in neighboring countries," Zhu said,.
Because the US will not provide a visa simply for the purpose of a SAT, the overseas winter camp is a good alternative.
Zhao Lanfang, mother of a senior high school boy, said the 50,000-yuan trip was a considerable expense but parents might feel rewarded if their child succeeded.
(Shanghai Daily November 1, 2007)