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According to enrolment records and financial assistance figures, Victory Yinka-Banjo, a 17-year-old high school graduate, was given more than $5 million in scholarship money for an undergraduate programme of study.
“It still feels pretty unbelievable. I applied to so many schools because I didn’t even think any school would accept me,” Victory told CNN.
Born to Nigerian parents, mother Chika Yinka-Banjo, a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos, and Father Adeyinka Banjo, a private sector procurement and supply chain executive, Victory was given potential full scholarships from the Ivy League schools, Yale College, Princeton University, Harvard College, and Brown University.
Other US scholarship offers included those from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia.
In Canada, Victory was offered the Lester B. Pearson scholarship from the University of Toronto and the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow (KMILOT) scholarship from the University of British Columbia.
Victory, who was a senior prefect in secondary school, added: “Their admissions processes are extremely selective. They only accept the best of the best. So, you can imagine how, on a daily basis, I have to remind myself that I actually got into these schools. It is surreal!”
Victory rose to national prominence in late 2020 after she scored straight As in her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Months earlier, the Nigerian teen had been rated as the “Top in the World” in English as a second language (speaking endorsement) by the University of Cambridge International Examination (CIE). Victory aced the Cambridge IGCSE exam — acquiring A in all six subjects she sat for.
Victory told CNN her remarkable achievements are borne out of hard work.
“They have made me truly feel proud about the hard work I have put into several areas of my life over the years. I am slowly beginning to realize that I deserve them,” she said.
The teenager remarked that her multiple scholarship offers “have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often.”
Victory said she hopes to study Computational Biology. However, she is still weighing up her options on which school to choose, having been wooed by many prestigious institutions.
“I am still doing research on some schools that are at the top of my list, like Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and just trying to compare and contrast all of them thoroughly,” she told CNN.