First Generation Immigrant From Malaysia Gets Accepted to All Eight Ivy League Schools

A Malaysian immigrant in Orange County, California has made an incredibly rare achievement of getting acceptance letters from all eight Ivy League schools.

Cassandra Hsiao, a 17-year-old incoming freshman, now has the luxury of choosing between Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell and Pennsylvania for where she wants to spend her college years.

She actually has even more choices as she also got accepted to Stanford University, John Hopkins University, University of Southern California, Northwestern University, New York University, Amherst College, and many others.

“It’s completely surreal,” Hsiao told NBC4. “I opened them one after another, and they all were saying, ‘Congratulations! Congratulations!’ And I know that is something special.”

Hsiao, who grew up in Walnut in Los Angeles, is a first-generation immigrant who came from Malaysia when she was just five years old. She said that her essay about learning English has impressed the universities.

The Orange County School of the Arts student has an impressive 4.67 GPA and an excellent 1540 SAT score. The student journalist is also active in extracurricular activities, being the editor-in-chief of the school’s magazine and one of two student body presidents.

Hsiao’s writing and interviews can be found at several teen-based sites including,,, BYOU magazine and LA Times High School Insider.

“She’s multi-faceted,” said Josh Wood, OCSA’s director of creative writing of Hsiao. “She’s such a go-getter and makes opportunities for herself.”

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