Taiwanese Prodigy, 13, Sets New Record for Youngest Admitted to New York University

Taiwanese Prodigy, 13, Sets New Record for Youngest Admitted to New York University
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像
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The 13-year-old wants to devote himself to the research of rare diseases.

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A Taipei high school student was recently accepted to two prestigious U.S. universities: New York University and University of California, Santa Cruz.

At the age of 13, Chiang Ching-liang (江璟亮), a student of Taipei Municipal Ming Sheng High School, has become the youngest to be admitted by NYU and sets the record of being the first Taiwan-educated junior high student to have been accepted to top-notch universities.

Chiang, who has decided to choose NYU, said that when he received the admission notification, he was elated with "grateful feelings beyond description."

He thanked NYU for admitting him despite his young age, and said that others can realize their dreams as long as they don't give up.

Chiang has been extraordinary since early childhood. He started to learn piano at the age of 6 and violin at 7. Starting from his first grade at Ming Sheng Primary school, he has won numerous awards in competitions.

At the age of 8, he was certified by U.K,-based Mensa International, the largest and oldest IQ society in the world, with an IQ of 160.

In addition to music and fine arts, he is also brilliant in language. He read Harry Potter at the age of 6. He passed Cambridge English exams for university level at 9 and passed TOEFL's Paper-Based Test with a score of 627 at 10, making him the youngest in Asia.

He is still a voracious reader, getting through more than a dozen books every week, according to his mother.

Chiang used the website www.kharnacademy.org, a U.S.-based free learning and educational website, to self-teach himself courses spanning from junior high to senior high school.

He passed the Scholastic Assessment Tests last October, ranking in the top 1 percent.

"As a single mother, I couldn't teach him anything. All I can do is accompany him and support him," said her mother, Chiang Lin-yu (江稜裕).

She said that terming her son a "genius" is too much of a burden, preferring others to refer to her son as having excellent talent, adding that her son "is really very focused and conscientious."

She said her son never stays up late, going to bed at 10 p.m. and getting up at 7 a.m.

She said that during her son's learning process, he would often meet with negativity because of "his young age," so that he had to be self-taught at home.

Looking ahead, Chiang said that he wants to devote himself to the research of rare diseases, as one of his family members is suffering from spinocerebellar atrophy, a progressive, degenerative genetic disease.

Because NYU has a medical school and a music department, he decided to enroll there, but has applied for extended enrollment until next year, so that he can use the time to raise money for tuition fees and complete more subjects of advanced placement (AP), a program that offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students.

Chiang has already completed four subjects in the AP programs - biology, calculus, environmental science and music theory.