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Tuesday, May 9, 2017
New Jersey Teen Accepted into All Eight Ivies
This crowning achievement is still relatively rare, and the small handful of students who grab the honor each year tends to get a lot of press. With notoriously brutal acceptance rates ranging from 5-15%, the odds are in almost no one's favor. So the fact that seventeen-year-old Ifeoma White-Thorpe was also accepted into Stanford is extraordinary. For the 2017-2018 admissions cycle, Stanford's admission rate fell to a mind-boggling 4.65%.
Anyone tuned into this blog knows that I've written relentlessly about the problem with reported acceptance rates. It's simple math: technology has made applying easier, so students apply to more colleges. At the same time, universities have around the same number of spaces open in each freshman class. So, proportionally speaking, colleges are admitting a lower percentage of applying students.
Technicalities aside, this kind of admissions sweep is relatively unheard of, and the credit should fall squarely in White-Thorpe's lap. She is student-government president at her school. Though writing is both a skill and a passion, she aspires to study global health and biology. The appeal of the Ivies was not pedigree but the value of their research institutions.
In 2015, she was one of three national finalists in the Selma Speech and Essay Contest, in which students were invited to write about issues of freedom and self-determination. White-Thorpe wrote candidly about racial discrimination, and living with its very raw, and often terrifying weight.
White-Thorpe hasn't yet made a declaration about attendance, but acknowledges that cost will be a factor. Neither Stanford nor the Ivies offer merit-based scholarships and all come with annual price tags of $50,000 and higher. Fortunately, enormous endowments mean that most offer generous need-based financial aid. With any luck, the positive press will be as persuasive to these institutions as Ms. White-Thorpe's own estimable achievements.
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