Ashley Adirika was accepted into all eight Ivy League schools and seven other universities
Florida teen Ashley Adirika has always dreamed of attending an Ivy League school. So in late fall, she applied to not just one but all eight of them.
On Ivy Day, the fateful spring day when the prestigious schools all announce their first-year admission decisions, Ashley opened eight tabs on her computer — one for each applicants portal. One acceptance letter popped up. Then another. And another.
Until she had them all: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.
It was a surreal moment for the 17-year-old, whose mother emigrated to the US from Nigeria three decades ago.
Ashley was surrounded that day by family members — including her four siblings — who joined her in squealing in delight at each new acceptance letter.
“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 says. “On Ivy Day, I remember crying a lot and just being extremely surprised.”
Ashley, who graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School this month, joins an exclusive group: Since 2018, each Ivy League school has accepted less than 12% of its applicants.
This year Yale accepted 4.5%, Columbia took 3.7% and Harvard accepted just 3.2%, the lowest number in the university’s history.
Ashley also got accepted to seven other top rated schools, including Stanford, Vanderbilt and Emory. She picked Harvard, where she plans to major in government this fall.
She’s been a force on the debate team
Ashley says she was conflicted between Harvard and Yale, but it all came down to her career aspirations.
Her goal is to learn how government works and how policies can help fix economic disparities in communities.
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 says.
At her high school Ashley Adirika was on the debate team and served as a student council president.
The teenager has always been curious about how the world works, says Bess Rodriguez, debate coach at nearby Carol City Middle School, who recruited Ashley for the team when she was in the eighth grade.
She started an organization to help young women
There’s one thing Ashley’s pretty sure about: She plans to continue making an impact beyond her campus.
As a high schooler, she started Our Story Our Worth, an organization that provides mentorship, confidence building and sisterhood to girls and young women of color.
Being part of the debate team, she says, taught her how to articulate herself when talking to members of the organization.