Five-year-old boy’s ‘CV’ shows just how hard it is to get into one of China’s elite private schools

A CV outlining the achievements of a five-year-old child has gone viral in China highlighting the highly competitive nature of the country’s private school system.

The 15-page document, which describes the child as “confident” and holding “rich and varied experience”, gained tens of thousands of shares and comments after being posted on Chinese social media site Weibo by an entertainment blogger. Some users were quick to mock the child’s myriad achievements.

It states the unnamed five-year-old enjoys “a wide variety of hobbies” outside school, including piano, hip-hop dancing, football, and the Chinese board game Go.

One section says that the unnamed child has read more than 10,000 English- and Chinese-language books, with a hundreds-strong reading list from this year alone attached as an addendum – which includes The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss. A separate color-coded map of the world outlines the the child’s travels to date.

Alongside his achievements and hobbies, the CV highlights the child’s exceptional character. It describes him as “strong” – a fact illustrated by his ability to refrain from crying while receiving his immunisations.

Elseewhere, under the heading “Can withstand defeat”, it reads: “If I get told off, I can quickly adjust my mood and actively dedicate myself to my studies.”

The CV also emphasises the child’s emotional intelligence: “I write three English essays per week to express my feelings”.

Weibo users were quick to pass judgement on the child’s achievements.

“It seems that I can’t achieve more than this child in my lifetime,” read one top-rated comment. Others said that the CV had put them off ever having children.

In recent years, China’s parents have proven they are willing to go to ever-further lengths to see their children accepted into top private schools. Increasingly, parents are also vetted alongside their children as part of the admissions process.

Hot-housing children from an exceptionally young age has become routine and a cottage industry has sprouted up to cater to overachieving children and their helicopter parents from both the wealthy elite and aspirant middle classes.

Shopfront education centres on busy city streets provide afterschool enrichment classes while adverts posted in apartment blocks offer private music tutors at home.  

Consulting companies will tailor a full suite of services for older children, including exam coaching, redrafting admissions essays, university visits, and summer trips abroad.

In April, the CV of a six-year-old who won one of 60 places at an elite private primary school from a pool of 8,000 applicants, also went viral. 

It claimed the child had learned to speak at the age of three months, could swim by three years old, and was capable of basic computer programming and could read 2,000 Chinese characters – enough to understand a newspaper.

However, the phenomenon of the childhood CV may have already had its day. In February, authorities in Shanghai banned schools from considering specially made CVs as part of their selection process. 

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