Victory Yinka-Banjo, a 17-year-old Nigerian, has secured 19 fully funded scholarship offers from universities across the United States and Canada following her academic strides.
According to CNN, the total scholarship offers are worth over $5 million, based on admission documents and estimates of financial aid awards.
The US varsities include Ivy League schools, Yale College, Princeton University, Harvard College, Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Virginia.
Offers from Canada include the Lester B. Pearson scholarship from the University of Toronto and the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow scholarship from the University of British Columbia.
Victory is born to Chika Yinka-Banjo, a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos and Adeyinka Banjo, a private sector procurement and supply chain executive.
In her reaction, the teenager described the feat as “unbelievable”, noting that she initially doubted that she would get the scholarship while making applications to the various varsities.
“It still feels pretty unbelievable. I applied to so many schools because I didn’t even think any school would accept me,” she said.
“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 started pulling the weight of fame after she aced the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination with As in all her subjects.
Before the feat, however, she had dazzled many with her academic prowess.
She was earlier adjudged the “Top in the World” in English as a second language (speaking endorsement) by the University of Cambridge International Examination.
This had followed her outstanding performance at the Cambridge IGCSE exam after she got As in all the six subjects she took.
The teenager attributed her academic success to hard work, faith, parental guidance, and discipline.
“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 added.
Victory, who aspires to study Computational Biology at the varsity, said the scholarship offers “have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often.”
She also revealed that she is currently researching the various schools that offered her scholarship before deciding which to go for.
“I am still doing research on some schools that are at the top of my list, like Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Duke, John Hopkins, and just trying to compare and contrast all of them thoroughly,” she added.
Chika expressed optimism that her daughter’s achievement would inspire other young Nigerians also seeking admission into varsities abroad.
“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 said.
“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.”