This Nigerian teenager is setting the bar high for herself before she even begins her college career.
A report from CNN shared that 17-year-old high school graduate Victory Yinka-Banjo counted 19 full-ride scholarship offers from the many colleges she applied to, in total worth over $5 million for an undergraduate program from universities across the U.S. and Canada.
“It still feels pretty unbelievable. I applied to so many schools because I didn’t even think any school would accept me,” she told CNN.
Yinka-Banjo — who was born to professional Nigerian parents — was granted several pending full scholarships from the Ivy League schools such as Yale College, Princeton University, Harvard College, Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia.
She also received offers from Canadian colleges such as the Lester B. Pearson scholarship from the University of Toronto and the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow (KMILOT) scholarship from the University of British Columbia.
“Their admissions processes are extremely selective,” Victory shared with CNN. “They only accept the best of the best. So, you can imagine how, on a daily basis, I have to remind myself that I actually got into these schools. It is surreal!”
The young scholar has a long track record of academic accomplishments that include scoring straight As in her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), acing the University of Cambridge’s IGCSE exam and even being named as the “Top in the World” with English as a second language by the university as well, according to CNN.
Additionally, she also spends her free time tutoring other university admission hopefuls on key subjects like math, English language, biology, chemistry and physics via the radio.
In speaking with the news outlet, Yinka-Banjo revealed that her accomplishments have boosted her confidence a great deal and reminded her to celebrate herself more often for the barriers she breaks.
“They have made me truly feel proud about the hard work I have put into several areas of my life over the years,” she said. “I am slowly beginning to realize that I deserve them.”
As she gears up, for her college journey, Yinka-Banjo hopes to pursue a major in Computational Biology at whatever university she chooses, as she’s still thinking through her options.
“I am still doing research on some schools that are at the top of my list, like Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and just trying to compare and contrast all of them thoroughly,” she adds with CNN.
According to Yinka-Banjo’s mother, Chika, she believes her daughter’s story could help inspire other young Nigerian students in their academic pursuits.
“It is noteworthy that she is not one of the Nigerian-Americans who often get into these schools because of their advantage of being born and bred in the US.,” she tells CNN. “She completed her secondary school here [in Nigeria]. It would be great if her story can be used to inspire the youths of our country.”
For all of her success, Yinka-Banjo credits her accomplishments to her faith, parental guidance and discipline.