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March 6, 2010

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Students reach for the stars ...

THOUSANDS of star-struck youngsters from all over the country are hoping to be accepted as students at the Shanghai Theater Academy.

About 20,000 high school graduates had applied for the school's 23 majors this year by the time online applications closed yesterday. That was a 10 percent rise compared to last year, officials said.

Acting continued to be the most popular major, with a quarter of applicants trying for a place in film, musical and comedy acting classes.

However, most of them will be disappointed because of the limited number of places. The academy is planning to enroll just 460 applicants in total for classes including acting, lighting and stage design.

In the acting department, only 75 of the 5,000 applicants will be admitted, said Chen Qiyi, the college's admission office director.

"We found applicants this year much more prepared," said Chen. "You could tell that most applicants must have been trained and their parents must have contributed a lot."

Applicants eager to be admitted by theater and drama academies can find the process costly.

For instance, one applicant from Hubei Province had spent at least 20,000 yuan (US$2,930) on training the year before applying. Many non-local applicants traveled between different schools, just to grasp each and every single chance they could possibly get, admission officials said.

"It really cost a lot," said one of the applicants who had studied in an art school for a couple years. "But I have been obsessed with acting ever since childhood."

Successful applicants can look forward to a promising future.

Chen said nearly 90 percent of their graduates landed jobs in show business.


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