Meet 17-year-old brilliant Nigerian teenager Ashley Adirika who wins $4m (N5.7b) scholarship to study at Harvard University

A 17-year-old Nigerian teenager Ashley Adirika has secured a $4 million scholarship to pursue her studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.

Adirika’s exceptional academic achievements granted her the opportunity to apply to Ivy League universities in the United States.

Having graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School in Florida, US, Ashley Adirika has harbored a lifelong aspiration of attending an Ivy League University.

On Ivy Day, when she opened her computer to review her applications, Ashley Adirika was astonished to discover that all the Ivy League universities had accepted her and offered her scholarships.

The schools that extended acceptance and scholarship offers to Ashley Adirika included Brown University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.

In her jubilant revelation, Adirika also shared that she received acceptance letters from Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, and Emory University, further amplifying her excitement.

“I just decided to shoot my shot at all of them and see if it would land. And I had no idea I would get accepted into all of them. On Ivy Day, I remember crying a lot and just being extremely surprised,” Ashely told CNN.

According to reports, the probability of gaining admission to one of the elite universities typically falls between three and eight percent.

Since 2018, the most exclusive schools in the US have accepted less than 12% of their applicants. In 2022, Yale accepted 4.5%, Columbia welcomed 3.7%, and Harvard greeted just 3.2% of its future pupils, marking the lowest number ever in the university’s history, as reported by CNN.

In addition to her streak of stellar grades, Adirika is renowned as a formidable presence in the realm of speech and debate.

“I’m someone who loves to learn new things, and so debate gave me that opportunity,” she said. 

“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.”

From middle school onward, her exemplary skills served as a precursor to what the future held in store for her.

“Everybody knew Ashley because of how smart she was,” Carol City Middle School teacher Bess Rodriguez shared. 

“She had test scores through the roof; she’s involved in all different activities. So I recruited her, and she had never debated before,” Rodriguez added.

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