Although the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way of life for all school-age students, one North Jersey high school senior says it helped to broaden his horizons and give him the encouragement he needed to apply and get accepted to 15 colleges — including seven Ivy Leagues universities.
David Odekunle, a 17-year-old Bloomfield High School senior, received letters of acceptance from the following universities for the fall semester:
- 1. Princeton University
- 2. Yale University
- 3. Brown University
- 4. Columbia University
- 5. Dartmouth University
- 6. Cornell University
- 7. University of Pennsylvania
- 8. Duke University
- 9. Johns Hopkins University
- 10. Rutgers University
- 11. The College of New Jersey
- 12. Kean University
- 13. NJIT
- 14. Stevens Institute of Technology
- 15. Caldwell University
Odekunle grew up in the small town of Jebba, Nigeria, and later moved to Scotland before his family relocated to the States, where he wanted to socially branch out with extracurricular activities.
“When I moved to the United States, I knew it was important to join activities, and find a community that fit me,” Odekunle told Daily Voice. “So, I joined the chess club, mock trial club, and poetry club, and through these activities, I was able to grow socially and academically.”
When it came time to apply for colleges, Odekunle said the COVID-19 pandemic held him back from being able to make physical visits — which was ultimately why he decided to play it safe and send out so many applications.
Of course, Odekunle also had the added advantage of following in the footsteps of his older brother, Emmanuel, who applied and was accepted to the same number of colleges two years ago.
“I chose colleges that I could see myself going to and made a list of safeties, targets, and reaches,” he said. “I think it’s definitely important to have a healthy mix of colleges that one applies to.”
While Odekunle says he’s set on majoring in biology, he says he hasn’t yet determined which school will be the best fit.
“I have been very fascinated and interested in learning more about human life and about our place with respect to other organisms living in the world around us,” he said.
“Currently, though, I am still undecided on where I am going, but I am considering all of the choices and trying to see the best place that fits me.”
Odekunle has one major piece of advice for students going through the college application process: be authentic and show your true self.
“We are all unique, and each of us has our own set of interests and passions, and being able to clearly communicate one’s story is essential,” he said.
“There is no certain mold one needs to fit, but as long as one is committed and staying true to oneself, then one can have the best chances of being accepted into great universities.”
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