Daya Brown, an 18-year-old African-American student from Atlanta, Georgia, has been admitted to over 50 colleges and universities. She has also received scholarship prizes totaling more than $1.3 million.
“It really wasn’t about the number of schools I applied to, it was really about making sure that I had options for my parents to really sit back and relax,” Brown told Good Morning America. “Student loans are something that I do not want. So this is kind of a gift, both to myself and to them.”
Brown, a senior at Atlanta’s Westlake High School, believes that working steadily and purposefully toward her objective is the secret to her success.
Brown said she began preparing early, even during her sophomore year, by studying colleges with specific disciplines she wanted to study, such as mass communications or cinema. She subsequently concentrated on getting involved in various extracurricular activities that could assist her cultivate her interests.
Brown spends her spare time as the CEO of Elom & Co. Productions, a production firm she formed to encourage emerging creators with the goal of making an influence in society via creativity.
Moreover, she said she couldn’t have achieved her dreams without the support of her family.
“My father, he is a pastor [and] an educator, so I learned my rhetorical skills from him. My mother, she’s creative, so I learned her visionary attributes. My grandmother, she makes all of my gowns, so I learned all of her artistic abilities. My brother, he reminds me to like laugh every day,” she said. “At the end of the day, I believe my village really showed up.”
Now with a lot of options, Brown decided to attend Duke University as she immediately felt welcomed and connected with other Black students in the university who had the same interests as her. She plans to study visual media studies with a minor in journalism, just like what she really wanted to do from the start.
“No, it wasn’t easy. Yes, you have to stay up many nights to get the work done if you want the GPA, but at the same time, it wouldn’t feel like such a burden, if it’s your passion,” she said. “I wake up every day, happy about what I do.”