Sometimes success comes as a sweet surprise. The same happened to Michael Brown when he received an acceptance letter from his dream school, Stanford University.
His celebration did not stop there as success came to him in multiple portions. In all, Brown had applied to 20 colleges — and was offered to attend all 20 of them, with full scholarships and financial aid.
It all started for Brown last December, when he applied to Stanford University. But he was not just offered to attend Harvard, Princeton, Northwestern, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, and Texas, and 11 others, he was offered full scholarships to every single college that he had applied.
The 17-year-old from Houston said he didn’t anticipate so many acceptances and remains in shock.
“I was certainly nervous,” Brown was quoted as saying by a news agency.
“I was nervous for each one because no one ever wants to be rejected, but especially for Stanford,” Brown said, adding, “And I did not expect and or think I’d get into all schools until I got into Stanford.”
The Texas high school student said that several Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania and Princeton, were among his top choices.
Being brought up in a low-income neighborhood Third Ward, Brown said he encourages others to not let their circumstances prevent them from working toward their dreams.
“Be helpful. Dream big. Don’t be afraid,” Brown said, adding, “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.”
While applying to different schools, Brown had already achieved an impressive high school academic record (a 4.68 GPA, a 1540 on the SAT and a 34 on the ACT) to go with his extracurricular and volunteer activities such as the Debate Team and Young Democrats.
Brown’s mother Rutledge-Brown says that her son, who attends Lamar High School, was always attentive and showed an interest in learning as early as kindergarten.
“He excelled immediately,” she said, adding that her son “was very self-motivated. By 6th grade, I was kicked to the curb.”
Brown gives credit to his mother for being a fantastic example in his life. She went back to college to earn her degree after getting divorced from his father. She graduated when Brown was just 9 years old.
"That's the first time I understood what going to college might look like," he said. "And seeing how important it was to my mom was important to me. I don't even think she really knew that I saw, that it had an impact on me — but it did."