High School Student Got Accepted to 39 Colleges

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. on a whim / ɑːn ə wɪm / (idiom) – without thorough planning

    I was feeling adventurous, so I booked a solo trip to Madagascar on a whim.

  2. meticulously / məˈtɪkjələsli / (adv) – thoroughly or very carefully

    I answer exams meticulously, so I can get good grades.

  3. diverse / dɪˈvɝːs / (adj) – made up of different kinds

    The international school has diverse students.

  4. narrow down / ˈneroʊ daʊn / (phrasal) – to reduce the number of things on a list by removing those that are not suitable

    The interviewer narrowed down the number of applicants from 20 to 5.

  5. must / mʌst / (n) – something that is needed

    If you want to get into that university, a high test score is a must.


Read the text below.

A high school student in the United States got accepted into 39 colleges and universities.

Jordan Nixon, a high school senior of Douglas County High School (DCHS), Georgia, applied to more than 50 schools around the country. As of March, she has already received 39 acceptance letters and $1.6 million worth of scholarships. She noted that she did not apply to those schools on a whim but picked them meticulously. She researched which schools had a diverse student population and offered International Business as a degree program.

Currently, she is narrowing down her choices and has until May 1 to decide on which school to attend.

Nixon was the first DCHS student to ever receive that many acceptance letters. One of the people that helped Nixon achieve this accomplishment was her private college adviser. Nixon’s adviser guided her in writing application essays and preparing for the SAT, a college admission test in the United States.

To apply to multiple schools, Nixon used mobile apps, like the Common Black College Application (CBCA). Because of such platforms, Nixon did not have to fill out an application form for each school. She also only had to pay once for sending out her applications.

Even though apps like the CBCA make it easier for students to send out college application forms, a college consultant says that it is still better for students to do campus visits and send personal e-mails to schools.

As for Nixon, she advises students to start working hard as early as the first day of high school. She said focusing on tests, homework, and essays is a must.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Is it a good idea for students to apply to as many schools as Nixon did? Why or why not?
• What factors should students consider in picking the best school if they received several acceptance letters like Nixon (e.g. scholarship, location)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What are the pros and cons of having too many options? Discuss.
• When deciding on something, whose help should people seek (e.g. family)? Why?