Ronald Nelson is a high school senior who’s accomplished something most students only dream of: admission to all eight Ivy League schools.
Nelson’s qualifications are equally as impressive. He’ll be graduating with a 4.58 weighted GPA, a 2260 out of 2400 SAT score and 15 AP classes on his record. On top of that, he’s president of his class, a National Merit Scholar, a National Achievement Scholar and a state-recognized alto saxophone player.
However, when it came to choosing which Ivy league to attend, he ended up passing on all of them.
Lets put this into perspective: This means that he rejected schools including Harvard, Cornell, Yale and Princeton — schools that some students would sell their family to get into.
Not only did Nelson reject all eight Ivy Leagues, he rejected offers from prestigious schools including Stanford, John Hopkins, New York University, Vanderbilt and Washington University.
Instead, he opted to go to the University of Alabama. The reason why is almost depressing: He simply just couldn’t afford it.
While he did receive some financial aid from every school that accepted him, only the University of Alabama offered him a full-ride scholarship. He also got into their selective honors program. Nelson told Business Insider:
“It took a lot of soul searching for me to push that first ‘accept’ button for Alabama. Of course there’s a bit of uncertainty.”
With plans to go to medical school after college, Nelson decided that it was safer to opt for a full-ride scholarship at a less prestigious school so that his family can save up money for the future. Nelson’s dad, Ronad Sr., told Business insider:
“With people being in debt for years and years, it wasn’t a burden that Ronald wanted to take on and it wasn’t a burden that we wanted to deal with for a number of years after undergraduate. We can put that money away and spend it on his medical school, or any other graduate school.”
Although forced to make a tough decision, Nelson doesn’t appear to regret his choice.
“I’ve had a lot of people questioning me — ‘Why are you doing this?’ — but after I explain my circumstances, they definitely understand where I’m coming from. The Ivy League experience would certainly be something amazing, to make these connections, and have these amazing professors. But I really do think I’ll be able to make the same experience for myself at the college I chose.”
With the cost of college tuition rising faster
than inflation, his decision shows that he is indeed one very smart young man.