The 17-year-old Nigerian American finally picked Harvard, where she plans to major in government.
Ashley Adirika from Florida always dreamed of attending an Ivy League school and decided to "shoot her shot" and apply to all eight of them. Little did she know that she would get accepted into all of them! The first-generation Nigerian-American, whose mother emigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria three decades ago, got into Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale. "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," she told CNN. "On Ivy Day, I remember crying a lot and just being extremely surprised."
That's not all. The debate champ, who went to high school at Miami Beach Senior High School, was also accepted to Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Emory. The budding scholar's achievement is no easy task. Each Ivy League school has accepted less than 12 percent of its applicants since 2018. This year, Yale accepted 4.5 percent, Columbia took in 3.7 percent of its applicants, and Harvard accepted just 3.2 percent, the lowest number in the university's history. It's been an emotional time for Ashley and her family. “The tears just started to come out. Like they started to flow out,” she told ABC News about her reaction to finding out. “My siblings and I were just really excited, like screaming, jumping around. It was crazy.”
17-year-old Ashley Adirika has been accepted into all 8 Ivy League universities (as well as Stanford and Vanderbilt); chose Harvard! https://t.co/wOahb1aMkm— WNDU (@WNDU) June 13, 2022
So which university did she finally pick? Ashley ended up choosing Harvard, where she plans to major in government, this fall. “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,” Ashley said, adding she wants to study how policies can ameliorate income disparities.
Ashley was also recruited to her school’s debate team when she was in eighth grade. Bess Rodriguez, debate coach at nearby Carol City Middle School, who recruited Ashley for the team shared, "She was very smart and articulate. Some of the debate topics were so sophisticated, like should the US sell arms to Saudi Arabia. She dug into the material, she was always so well prepared. The other students would say, 'Oh no, we have to debate Ashley.' College debaters and local attorneys would come up to me and say, 'Wow, we can't believe she's in eighth grade. She should be an attorney.'"
“I am really passionate about policy and using policy to empower communities. And so in the short term, for me, that looks like becoming a lawyer,” Ashley said. “But in the long term, I want to use that as a platform to do work in policy.” The 17-year-old plans to take her work beyond university walls. When she was in high school, she started Our Story Our Worth, an organization that provides mentorship, confidence-building, and sisterhood to girls and young women of color.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | ABC News