In an interview with CNN, Ashley Adirika said she broke down in tears and celebrated with her family after the eight prestigious schools offered her admission on Ivy Day. That day is when the schools send their first-year admission letters.
“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,” Adirika, whose mother immigrated to the United States from Nigeria, said. “On Ivy Day, I remember crying a lot and just being extremely surprised.”
The 17-year-old attended Miami Beach Senior High School and graduated this month. Her recent achievement makes her one of the few students to be accepted into an Ivy League school. The prestigious schools have granted admission to less than 12% of people who have applied since 2018. Yale granted admission to 4.5% of its applicants this year while Columbia and Harvard took in 3.7% and 3.2% respectively.
And besides impressively gaining admission into all eight Ivy League schools, Adirika also got accepted into seven other prestigious universities. Prior to applying, Adirika said Yale was actually her top choice. But she eventually decided to attend Harvard because of her career goals. Her aim is to study the way government works and how policies can help solve economic discrepancies in communities, CNN reported.
“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 said.
And besides her academic prowess, Adirika also runs an organization that helps young women of color learn skills and gain confidence. “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. I will never forget the sense of solace that their support gave me,” she wrote on the Our Story Our Worth website.
“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.”
Adirika’s organization operates in the Miami community. But she said she hopes to expand operations across the United States. The 17-year-old also praised her mother and other women in her life.
“She has just instilled in me the value of education and working hard, as well as all of the strong women in my life, like my older sisters,” she said. “For me, it’s about making the most of the opportunities that I have at my fingertips and really just making sure that the sacrifices that have been made for me weren’t done in vain.”