High school senior Harold Ekeh found out last week that he was accepted to all 13 universities he applied to—including all 8 Ivy League schools. Ekah was also accepted into Massachusetts Institute of Technology, John Hopkins, Vanderbilt, New York University, and SUNY Stony Brook.
On March 31, official college decisions were posted online. Ekeh was at home in Long Island with his mother when he found out the great news.
“[To celebrate] I went to Chipotle with my friends for a half steak half chicken burrito bowl,” Ekeh said. “It was perfect.”
When Ekeh was 8 years old, his family moved to the United States from Nigeria. His main college essay was about the hardships of adjusting to his new life in America.
As a child, Ekeh struggled in some of his classes, especially his U.S. history classes. He asked his parents why they had to move.
“We had a fairly comfortable life in Nigeria, but they told me we moved to America for the opportunities like the educational opportunities,” he said.
Ekeh grew successful in both his school and his community. He volunteered for social justice campaigns, academic mentoring, athletics, honor society, choir, and was even elected to his high school homecoming court.
His passion, however, is in biochemistry. The high schooler was recently named a 2015 Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist for his research on how to slow Alzheimer’s disease.
“When other kids would say, ‘I want to be a superhero or police officer,’ I would say, ‘I want to know what is on the inside of us,’” Ekeh said.
One of the reasons Ekeh wants to study the brain is because his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when he was 11. He said one of his proudest moments was telling his mother and aunts about the breakthroughs he found in his research.
Ekeh plans to attend medical school and specialize in neurosurgery.
“I knew I wanted to go to a really good school that would allow me to get into a great medical school,” he said.
Ekeh has until May 1 to decide which university he will attend in the fall. He said that he didn’t have a particular school in mind until he visited Yale with his high school’s Model United Nations team.
“I got to see how passionate people are at Yale,” he said. “That skewed me to start leaning towards Yale in my junior year.”
Before making a decision, he plans to visit his top-priority schools over the next month.
“I still have to make visits to other schools like Harvard, Princeton and MIT,” he said. “That’s what I’ll do in the upcoming weeks.”