A first-generation American from Shirley, N.Y., 17-year-old violist and aspiring physician applied to all eight Ivy Leage Universities, from Brown to Yale, and was accepted to all of them.
The responses began coming in over the past few months, and by late last week when he opened an e-mail from Harvard, he found he’d been accepted to everyone. School district officials provided scanned copies of acceptance letters from all eight on Monday. Yale confirmed that it was holding a spot for Enin.
“My heart skipped a beat when he told me he was applying to all eight,” says Nancy Winkler, a guidance counselor at William Floyd High School, where Enin attends class. In 29 years as a counselor, she says, she’s never seen anything like this. “It’s a big deal when we have students apply to one or two Ivies. To get into one or two is huge. It was extraordinary.”
For most of the eight schools, acceptance comes rarely, even among the USA’s top students. At the top end, Cornell University admitted only 14% of applicants. Harvard accepted just 5.9%.
Application pools these days skew heavily toward girls: The U.S. Department of Education estimates that females comprised 57% of college students in degree-granting institutions last year. Colleges — especially elite ones — are struggling to keep male/female ratios even, so admitting academically gifted young men like Enin gives them an advantage.
He ranks No. 11 in a class of 647 at William Floyd, a large public school on Long Island’s south shore. That puts him in the top 2% of his class. His SAT score, at 2,250 out of 2,400 points, puts him in the 99th percentile for African-American students.
Being a first-generation American from Ghana also helps him stand out. As school authorities say, “He’s not a typical African-American kid.”
Enin says he got the idea to apply to all eight in 10th or 11th grade, discovering that each has “their own sense of school spirit” and other qualities he liked.
According to his teachers, “sitting in a very good place right now — I think he can negotiate the very best financial aid package he can get” at his top-choice school. “Almost any of them would do anything for this type of candidate,”