Did Amy Chua’s Daughter Really Need a Tiger Mom to Get Into Harvard?

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A student sits under a tree in Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts September 21, 2009.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Now that her eldest cub is bound for the Ivy League, the Tiger Mom has been tamed.

On April 2, Chua revealed on her Facebook page that her daughter Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld had earned a spot at Harvard. And while she was quick to praise her strict parenting regime of no sleepovers and no television when defending her controversial book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in January, Chua seems to have retracted her claws since then. “I’m afraid I can’t take any credit,” Chua wrote in an e-mail to the Boston Herald. “I don’t think my parenting had anything to do with it — I think Sophia did it 100% herself.” And that was no easy feat. Harvard accepted a record low of 6.2% of applicants this year—selected from a pool of 35,000 students.

(More on TIME.com: See TIME’s cover story on tiger moms)

But, as it turns out, Sophia probably would have done well in the college admissions game even without her pushy mother. She’s demonstrated that she has more than a few talents of her own. A piano prodigy, she debuted at Carnegie Hall at 14. And in a letter defending her mother published in the New York Post, she proved she has writing chops, too. “Having you as a mother was no tea party,” she wrote. “There were some play dates I wish I’d gone to and some piano camps I wish I’d skipped. But now that I’m 18 and about to leave the tiger den, I’m glad you and Daddy raised me the way you did.”

Sophia’s natural talent aside, Chua did bequeath her with one gift most pushy mothers can only dream of: alumni status. Chua holds two degrees from Harvard—a B.A. and, like her husband, a J.D.

(More on TIME.com: Read about the ‘superior’ Amy Chua web parodies)

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