A newly unearthed video appears to show the Chinese student whose family allegedly paid a fixer $6.5 million to get her into Stanford bragging that she’s living proof you don’t need to be that smart to get into the elite school.
In a livestream on video site Douyu in July 2017, a girl identifying herself as then-17-year-old Yusi Zhao told viewers she doesn’t have a high IQ but got into the school by “hard work.”
“I got into Stanford through hard work,” Zhao tells her viewers in Mandarin.
“I don’t have a high IQ, but I worked hard to achieve high scores.”
The video spread through Chinese social media Thursday, a day after Zhao was outed as the student whose family allegedly paid the staggering sum to college prep adviser William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind behind the nationwide admissions scam.
Zhao is the daughter of Tao Zhao, the co-founder of Chinese drug company Buchang Pharmaceuticals, Stanford Daily reported.
Prosecutors say Singer falsely presented Zhao to Stanford as a sailing prodigy, which helped her secure a spot at the highly competitive college — and he then paid a $500,000 bribe to the school’s sailing coach.
She was booted out of the school over false information on her application, but neither Zhao nor her parents have been charged with any wrongdoing in the scandal — and her mom on Thursday denied having any idea what Singer was up to.
Singer has pleaded guilty to helping dozens of parents across the US get their kids into top colleges by bribing coaches to name them as bogus athletic recruits or paying off proctors to doctor their entrance exams. Prosecutors say many of the spoiled scions were none the wiser.
In the livestream — which Zhao says was watched by 160,000 people — she identifies herself as a Stanford ‘21 student who is starting at the school in September, and wants to spread the word that “getting into Stanford is not an empty dream.”
She said she scored poorly on tests in elementary school, but studied hard and got 33 out of a possible 36 on the ACT, and 43 out of 45 on her International Baccalaureate exams.
“If my teachers knew that I was admitted to a top-notch university in the world, I bet they’d be shocked,” Zhao said.
She insists her acceptance had nothing to do with her family’s “money” — and claims to have a scholarship.
“Some people asked whether I got into Stanford because my family has money. It’s actually not true. The admission officers had no idea who you are at all,” she says.
“Plus, I got scholarship money, which will cover my tuition,” she continues, before stopping and swiftly changing the subject.
Several times during the video, she speaks English at her viewers’ request, displaying a strong British accent.
An online ad promoting the livestream also circulated online Thursday, showing Zhao in the uniform for expensive British private school Wellington College, where Stanford Daily says she attended high school.
It advertised the event as “The American top scholar guides you to get into Stanford” and claimed she is “just an ordinary girl” who “wiped out the American college entrance exam.”
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