For most people, getting into one, or even two, Ivy League schools would be the achievement of a lifetime. But one intelligent Florida teen managed to get into not one, not two, but all eight Ivy League colleges in the United States: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale. Not to mention the seven other highly-rated universities she’s been accepted to and the $4 million worth of scholarship offers.
“I just decided to shoot my shot at all of them and see if it would land. And I had no idea that I would get accepted into all of them,” says the Nigerian American teen Ashley Adirika. “On Ivy Day, I remember crying a lot and just being extremely surprised.”
Adirika graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School this month. And now, with all of her prestigious acceptance letters, the rising freshman is the newest member of an exclusive group of students. This year, Yale only accepted 4.5% of applicants, while Columbia took 3.7%, and Harvard accepted the lowest number of students in its history—a mere 3.2% of applicants.
Adirika’s family joined her for the dumbfounding moment when she opened all eight Ivy League acceptance letters. She was surrounded by her four siblings and her mom, who immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria nearly 30 years ago. The teen credits her mother with instilling in her “the value of education and working hard.”
Now, all that hard work has paid off. But with such a wealth of options to choose from, it’s no wonder the teen wasn’t quite sure about which school she would attend. Though she was initially conflicted about whether she should go to Harvard or Yale, Adirika eventually decided to go with Harvard.
“Before the college application process, Yale was actually my top choice,” Adirika explains. “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.”
But what made the teen’s application so impressive that all eight Ivy League schools decided to let her in? Well, in addition to being a formidable debater on her school’s team since the eighth grade, Adirika also founded an organization to help empower young women of color. The program, called Our Story Our Worth, provides mentorship opportunities as well as confidence-building and sisterhood to young girls.
“When I was in elementary school, I had the privilege of being a part of a mentorship program for girls. I was mentored by women in college and they taught me important skills, instilled confidence into me, and gave me the outlet I needed to express myself,” she explains on the organization’s website. “I will never forget the sense of solace that their support gave me. Unfortunately, as I…continued into middle and high school, that sense of solace began to fade. There was a lack of programs available for girls, much less those of color.”
So the ambitious teen decided to step in and fill the void by creating Our Story Our Worth. Although there’s currently only one chapter of the organization at her local high school in Miami, Adirika hopes to take the program nationwide eventually. For now, she’s getting ready to head to her new home at Harvard in the fall.
And as for the rest of her Ivy League acceptance letters? The teen has stored them all away in a keepsake box to remind herself of all the great things she can achieve and to let others inspired by her story know that they can do it too.
One impressive Florida teen named Ashley Adirika got accepted into all eight Ivy League schools in the U.S. In the end, she decided on Harvard.