Victory Yinka-Banjo, a 17-year old high school graduate from Nigeria, has received full-ride scholarship offers from 19 prestigious universities in the United States and Canada. Combined, the awards are worth more than $5 million!
“It still feels pretty unbelievable. I applied to so many schools because I didn’t even think any school would accept me,” Victory said in an interview with CNN.
Among the many schools that offered her full-ride scholarships is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, and Ivy League schools like Yale College, Harvard College, Princeton University, and Brown University.
Victory was also given potential full scholarships in Canada, such as 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.
“Their admissions processes are extremely selective,” Victory said. “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!”
The teenager has been outstanding since high school where she also became a senior prefect. She scored straight A’s in her West African Senior School Certificate Examination and was awarded “Top in the World” in English as a second language (speaking endorsement) by the University of Cambridge International Examination (CIE).
Victory said that her achievements are because of her parents who guided her, as well as her faith and hard work. She said that all the scholarship offers “have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often.”
Moreover, Victory’s mother, Chika, hopes her daughter’s story could inspire other young Nigerians. She said, “It is noteworthy that she is not one of the Nigerian-Americans who often get into these schools because of their advantage of being born and bred in the US. She completed her secondary school here [in Nigeria]. It would be great if her story can be used to inspire the youths of our country.”
Victory plans to study Computational Biology but she has yet to choose which school she is going to attend. She narrowed down her choices to Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and is doing some research to compare them.
In the meantime, Victory is making efforts to give back by tutoring other university admission seekers on different subjects through the radio during some of her free time.