Seventeen-year-old Kwasi Enin of Shirley took a shot at -- and won -- what amounts to an academic royal flush: He applied to and was accepted at all eight Ivy League schools.
But the William Floyd High School senior said he never thought he'd land slots in the class of 2018 at Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale. He hasn't decided where he'll attend, but would cross Long Island Sound to attend Yale in New Haven, Conn., depending on the financial aid package offered.
Kwasi said he thought he'd just give it the old college try and "maybe two or three of them" would bite, he said. The eight Ivy League colleges are among the nation's most selective institutions of higher education. As an example of what Kwasi accomplished, Harvard has one of the lowest acceptance rates in the country at just 5.9 percent for the fall of 2014 -- 2,023 students out of 34,295 applicants.
For Kwasi, applying to a competitive college wasn't exactly a gamble. He has an SAT score of 2,250 out of 2,400, which places him in the 99th percentile for all students taking the exam. He has taken and scored high on many Advanced Placement exams. He is an athlete, a shot putter, in fact, and his baritone voice can belt out a tune when he's not playing viola for the school orchestra.
Still, he said, "I've never heard of someone getting all eight."
He has now surpassed the accomplishments of some of his uncles and cousins, who were accepted to several Ivies. "I always thought they were far better than me academically," Kwasi said.
He began hearing from each of the schools on March 27, the date when tens of thousands of anxious students log onto the schools' websites to see if they have been accepted. Kwasi had already been accepted to Princeton in December, but he hoped to make the cut at a few more.
Brown: Yes. Columbia: Yes. Cornell: Yes. And the yesses kept coming. "I was like -- this can't be happening."
By session's end, about 5 p.m., he had checked six Ivy League schools and then received an email at about 5:30 p.m. from Harvard -- a school he thought would never accept him.
"It has to be the one to reject me," he said as he sat in his high school library Monday, still incredulous. "They're Harvard."
And if that was not enough, he also gained acceptance to Duke University, Stony Brook University, SUNY Geneseo and Binghamton University.
Administrators at William Floyd were proud but not surprised by Kwasi's perfect Ivy League acceptance rate, saying he is an academic standout.
"You could see the potential that Kwasi had back then and to see it all come together is truly spectacular," said Barbara Butler, principal of the school who also taught Kwasi for six years. "He has it all together -- he's extremely intelligent, hardworking, well-rounded and humble."
Ebenezer Enin, Kwasi's father, a nurse, said Kwasi -- who wants to study medicine -- was raised, along with his sister, to strive for excellence.
"We are very proud of him," he said. "He's an amazing kid. He's very humble. He's been trained to be a high achiever right from when he was a kid. We have been encouraging him to be an all-around student. So far, he has proved himself."