At 17 years old, Ashley Adirika has already achieved a lifelong goal after dreaming for years about attending an Ivy League school. But things got a bit tricky for Adirika, as she was accepted to all eight Ivies.
On that “fateful spring day when the prestigious schools all announce their first-year admission decisions, Ashley opened eight tabs on her computer – one for each’s applicants portal. One acceptance letter popped up. Then another. And another. Until she had them all,” CNN reports.
According to Business Insider, “[t]he chance of one high school student getting accepted into one U.S. Ivy League school can range anywhere from five percent to 15 percent, depending on the school.” With her eight acceptances, she is joining “an exclusive group.”
“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…On Ivy Day, I remember crying a lot and just being extremely surprised,” she said.
Adirika spoke with ABC about reacting to the news, “[t]he tears just started to come out. Like they started to flow out…My siblings and I were just really excited, like screaming, jumping around. It was crazy.”
In addition to her Ivy acceptances, it is unsurprising that Ashley was also accepted to seven other elite universities, including Vanderbilt, Emory, and Stanford.
While Adirika was initially leaning towards Yale, the teen picked Harvard, where she plans to major in government. She said that after doing “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.”
What does she hope to accomplish with her degree? For now, Adirika says, “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…But in the long term, I want to use that as a platform to do work in policy.”
Adirika graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School, where she was president of the student council and a speaker at her graduation ceremony. On top of her academic accolades, she has constantly strived to make “an impact beyond her campus” and thus started Our Story Our Worth—an organization that provides mentorship, confidence-building and sisterhood to girls and young women of color.
She credits her time on the debate team, which she was recruited to join in the 8th grade, to helping her build confidence about making her “voice heard.”
She told local ABC news affiliate, “I’m someone who loves to learn new things, and so debate gave me that opportunity. But more than anything, it just gave me the platform to talk about things that I believed in and talk about things that were important to me. And so that is something that I am just forever indebted to Carol City for introducing me to that platform.”
The Nigerian-American, first-generation student also effusively thanks her mother and older sisters for their role in inspiring and encouraging her to pursue her passions in life. “They empowered me and supported me throughout the entire way. So whatever dream I have, big or small, they’ve just been my No. 1 fans.”