Having received 19 scholarship offers from top universities across the United States and Canada, 17-year-old Victory Yinka-Banjo has a world of opportunities opening up to her, and is carefully considering where she wants to take her academic talents next.
Victory, a Lagos, Nigeria, native and resident, was awarded more than $5 million in scholarship money, according to CNN, for her scholastic accomplishments. The college-bound teen kept busy during her high school years at Princeton College in Surulere, Lagos, which earned her a plethora of academic decorations. These include scoring straight As on her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), serving as a brand ambassador for the Learn at Home audio e-learning platform, where she is “involved in Live audio classes and nationwide radio outreach on 10 radio stations across Nigeria,” and earning the rating of “Top in the World” in English as a second language by the University of Cambridge International Examination (CIE) after not simply passing but acing all six subjects she tested for, in addition to many more.
Yinka-Banjo admitted that she was motivated to apply for a variety of schools because she wasn’t sure she’d get into any at all, even after all of her achievements. “It still feels pretty unbelievable. I applied to so many schools because I didn’t even think any school would accept me,” she told CNN.
Now, top universities around the world are now vying for her attention, including United States Ivy Leagues Yale, Harvard, Brown and Princeton universities, all of which have offered her full scholarships.
“They have made me truly feel proud about the hard work I have put into several areas of my life over the years,” she said of her achievements. “I am slowly beginning to realize that I deserve them,” she said.
Victory’s mother, Adeyinka Banjo, who is a private sector procurement and supply chain executive, hopes that the attention her daughter is receiving will show more Nigerian students that they can receive their education at home and still be welcomed into highly sought-after schools anywhere.
“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.”
Additional notable schools that Yinka-Banjo has her pick of include: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, the University of Toronto, where she was offered the Lester B. Pearson scholarship, and the University of British Columbia, which offered her the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow (KMILOT) scholarship.
Although the scholar is still making her mind up, she seems to have her list of preferred schools somewhat narrowed down, saying “I am still doing research on some schools that are at the top of my list, like Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and just trying to compare and contrast all of them thoroughly.”
In January, Yinka-Banjo told FabWoman that she plans to study “Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, or Computer Science” and likes to relax by “cooking, riding my bike, swimming, listening to gospel music (Hillsong, Elevation Worship, and Maverick City). I also like listening to Priscilla Shirer and Steven Furtick sermons.”
Victory is relishing in knowing that her hard work has paid off and acknowledges that her 19 scholarship offers “have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often.”