These stories of students who got accepted into all 8 Ivy League schools will inspire you! – Apart from Cassandra Hsiao, several other teenagers made it through all 8 Ivy League colleges.
Cassandra Hsiao (Facebook)
Getting accepted to even one Ivy League school is a feat in itself, but Malaysian-born 17-year-old Cassandra Hsiao has a different sort of dilemma. Having been accepted at all eight Ivy League universities, she now has to make the difficult choice to pick one of them.
Speaking to a website, Cassandra Hsiao said, “It’s totally surreal. It’s still sinking in. I had a moment to myself yesterday where I was just sobbing. I celebrated with my parents. This is quite the honour, to have these fantastic institutions accept me. It’s really something.”
A talented girl and involved in extra-curricular activities, Hsiao is the editor-in-chief of her school magazine and has interviewed many celebrities on the red carpet at film festivals, media screenings and press conferences.
Apart from the eight IVY league schools – Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, UPenn, Dartmouth, Brown, and Princeton, Hsiao has also got acceptance letters from Stanford University, John Hopkins University, University of Southern California, Northwestern University, New York University and Amherst College.
However, it was her essay about growing up in an immigrant household and honing her English speaking skills that played a role in her acceptance into these universities.
Read Cassandra Hsiao’s essay here:
In our house, English is not English. Not in the phonetic sense, like short a is for apple, but rather in the pronunciation – in our house, snake is snack. Words do not roll off our tongues correctly – yet I, who was pulled out of class to meet with language specialists, and my mother from Malaysia, who pronounces film as flim, understand each other perfectly.
In our house, there is no difference between cast and cash, which was why at a church retreat, people made fun of me for “cashing out demons.” I did not realise the glaring difference between the two Englishes until my teacher corrected my pronunciations of hammock, ladle, and siphon. Classmates laughed because I pronounce accept as except, success as sussess. I was in the Creative Writing conservatory, and yet words failed me when I needed them most.
Suddenly, understanding flower is flour wasn’t enough. I rejected the English that had never seemed broken before, a language that had raised me and taught me everything I knew. Everybody else’s parents spoke with accents smarting of PhDs and university teaching positions. So why couldn’t mine?
My mother spread her sunbaked hands and said, “This is where I came from,” spinning a tale with the English she had taught herself.
When my mother moved from her village to a town in Malaysia, she had to learn a brand new language in middle school: English. In a time when humiliation was encouraged, my mother was defenceless against the cruel words spewing from the teacher, who criticised her paper in front of the class. When she began to cry, the class president stood up and said, ‘That’s enough’.
“Be like that class president,” my mother said with tears in her eyes. The class president took her under her wing and patiently mended my mother’s strands of language. She stood up for the weak and used her words to fight back.
We were both crying now. My mother asked me to teach her proper English so old white ladies at Target wouldn’t laugh at her pronunciation. It has not been easy. There is a measure of guilt when I sew her letters together. Long vowels, double consonants – I am still learning myself. Sometimes I let the brokenness slide to spare her pride but perhaps I have hurt her more to spare mine.
As my mother’s vocabulary began to grow, I mended my own English. Through performing poetry in front of 3000 at my school’s Season Finale event, interviewing people from all walks of life, and writing stories for the stage, I stand against ignorance and become a voice for the homeless, the refugees, the ignored. With my words I fight against jeers pelted at an old Asian street performer on a New York subway. My mother’s eyes are reflected in underprivileged ESL children who have so many stories to tell but do not know how. I fill them with words as they take needle and thread to make a tapestry.
In our house, there is beauty in the way we speak to each other. In our house, language is not broken but rather bursting with emotion. We have built a house out of words. There are friendly snakes in the cupboard and snacks in the tank. It is a crooked house. It is a little messy. But this is where we have made our home.
Other students who also made it through all 8 Ivy League colleges this year:
Ifeoma White-Thorpe – The African-American New Jersey teenager has also got an acceptance letter from all eight universities. The student government president says she’s interested in global health and wants to study biology.
Martin Altenburg – Apart from the above mentioned universities, he has also been accepted at Stanford and MIT. Altenburg’s interests include cross-country, swimming, track, orchestra. and youth symphony.
Sarah Cameron – The Jenks High School senior has been accepted to all eight Ivy League schools. She says she’s leaning toward a degree in business, law or government.
Jude Okonkwo – The Long Island teenager has been accepted to Johns Hopkins, Washington University and Northeast Ohio Medical University’s baccalaureate-medical degree program apart from eight Ivy League universities. Jude aspires to become a neurosurgeon and is a senior at Chaminade High School in Long Island, New York.