Nigerian American-born teen, Ashley Adirika has become one of few prospective students to be accepted into all eight Ivy League universities with over $4m in scholarships. These schools are Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, Columbia universities, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Adirika who graduated from the Miami Beach Senior High School, Florida, United States has always dreamt of going to study at an Ivy League University. So in late fall, she applied to not just one — but all eight of them.
On the fateful spring day when the prestigious schools all announce their first-year admission decisions, Ashley opened eight tabs on her computer — one for each applicant’s portal. One acceptance letter popped up. Then another. And another. Until she had them all!
She also received acceptance letters from Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, and Emory University.
It was a surreal moment for the 17-year-old, whose single mother emigrated to the US from Nigeria 30yrs ago. Ashley was surrounded that day by family members — including her four siblings — who joined her in screaming in delight at each new acceptance letter.
“I just decided to shoot my shot at all of them and see if it would land. And I had no idea I would get accepted into all of them. On Ivy Day, I remember crying a lot and just being extremely surprised,” Ashely told CNN.
She continued: “It was surreal. It felt amazing to know the work that I put into my educational journey was paying off and to see [colleges] recognize that,” the Independent reports.
According to reports, the likelihood of being admitted to one of the elite universities ranges between three and eight percent. Putting it in perspective, if 10,000 students apply for those schools, only 300 – 800 applicants will be accepted.
Since 2018, the United States’ most exclusive schools have accepted less than 12% of their applicants. In 2022, Yale took 4.5%, Columbia welcomed 3.7%, and Harvard greeted just 3.2% of its future pupils, the smallest number ever in the university’s history, according to CNN.
Celebrating her victory and appreciating her friends and family, Adirika took her Instagram page to express herself.
“Never stop dreaming
“I’m beyond blessed and grateful to have been accepted to some of the most prestigious universities in the world with over $4 million worth of scholarship offers.
“I’m also extremely appreciative of every individual who has poured into me throughout my journey: family, educators, friends, mentors, coaches —- you all have had a profound impact on me.
“To every underrepresented person fighting to thrive in spaces that weren’t designed for us—- keep applying pressure, keep shaking the room, keep making your own table,” her post reads.
In another post, Ashley announced that she has chosen Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, out of the Eighth schools as her home for the next four years.
“Before the college application process, Yale was actually my top choice. But when I did further research for what I want to do specifically, which is explorations in policy and social policy and things of that nature, Harvard just had a better program,” she told CNN.
The Nigerian lady credits her time on speech and debate teams with building the confidence to make her voice heard.
“I’m someone who loves to learn new things, and so debate gave me that opportunity. But more than anything, it just gave me the platform to talk about things that I believed in and talk about things that were important to me. And so that is something that I am just forever indebted to Carol City for introducing me to that platform,” she said.
Bess Rodriguez, a seventh-grade English language teacher, recruited Adirika for the school’s speech and debate team when she was in eighth grade.
“Everybody knew Ashley because of how smart she was. She had test scores through the roof; she’s involved in all different activities,” Rodriguez said. “So I recruited her, and she had never debated before.“
She said Ashley, who added the speech and debate team onto her already full advanced academic course load, was hesitant at first but quickly became a “phenomenal” member of the team.
“When we went to debates, the other kids, when they saw her come in the room, they would say, ‘Oh no, we have to debate Ashley.’ You know, she just got a reputation like that,” she said, adding that even lawyers and debate competition judges would praise Adirika for her skills.
Rodriguez remembered Adirika as an “exceptional” student with poise and confidence. She said she was not surprised when Adirika returned to Carol City to tell her about her college acceptances.
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