A North Carolina teenager with a 4.0 GPA who applied with faith and perseverance to 115 colleges and universities was accepted to all of them except two, earning more than $4.5 million in merit-based scholarships.
The teenager, Jasmine Harrison, 17, who will graduate from The Academy at Smith on May 24, told WFMYNews2 that she was able to apply to all 115 schools for just $135. The low cost was thanks to the help of the College Foundation of North Carolina College Application Week, where she was able to apply to a number of North Carolina schools for free.
The Common Black College Application helped her to also apply to 53 historically black colleges and universities.
Still, preparing 115 college applications is not an easy feat. According to Harrison, she spent hours going over each one to make sure they were just right. There were times, she said, when she wanted to quit but she leaned on her faith and kept working.
"On those late nights when I was filling out those applications with my mom and we just felt like we cannot do this, we just ended up singing gospel songs together to get through the night," she said.
She told The New York Times that she was inspired to keep applying to different schools after she started getting acceptance letters and financial offers from some schools early in the process.
"I felt if I can get into all of these," she said, "what else can I get in?"
The responses she got in the end left her giddy.
"It was overwhelming at first because there were so many options," she said. "I could go anywhere, and discover who I am."
Only two schools, the University of South Carolina and Seton Hall University, turned her down.
Harrison decided to attend Bennett College, a United Methodist Church-related institution for women in Greensboro. The school offered her a full scholarship that runs $28,000 annually, school President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins confirmed with The New York Times.
"At the end, she wanted to stay nearby," her mother, Bravena M. Armstrong, said.
At Bennett College, Harrison will major in biology as she works toward becoming a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. She said she was inspired by the nurses who cared for one of her brothers, Zayden, in a similar unit.
Last month, with an impressive 4.68 GPA, Michael Brown got accepted into 20 colleges including four Ivy League schools with full scholarships, according to USA Today. A Houston, Texas, native, Brown accepted the offer from Stanford but he also got accepted by: Harvard University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Northwestern University, Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University, Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Williams College, University of Texas-Austin, University of California-Berkeley, Amherst, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Tulane University, University of Michigan, UC-Davis and UC-Irvine.
Brown advised students in his economically-challenged neighborhood to: "Be helpful. Dream big. Don't be afraid. Be proud of your family, love yourself, love your community and then share your story. Inspire other people to really reach for the stars and achieve their dreams."