-Andreas KristinusPresident, EduGate LLC
A Tennessee genius teen got into all eight Ivy League schools — but he’ll root for the Crimson Tide this fall.
Memphis-area high school senior Ronald Nelson announced he’ll attend the University of Alabama, meaning he is rejecting offers from the eight Ivies plus a handful of other competitive, private schools.
Nelson said a generous full-ride scholarship convinced him to enroll at the public school.
He’ll use the money he’s saving on his undergrad degree on medical school, he told Business Insider.
Nelson — who will graduate from Houston High School in Germantown, Tenn., on Tuesday with a 4.58 GPA — said he received financial aid packages from many schools.
Still, he was unsure if he could manage the cost of a pricey private degree. His older sister is due to grade from college next spring, meaning he’d likely receive less financial aid after that since his parents would only be supporting one college kid.
“(The private schools) told me that I would probably end up paying quite a bit more over the next three years,” he said.
So the senior class president and award-wining saxophone player turned down the Ivy offers.
He also rejected bids from Stanford, Johns Hopkins, New York University, Vanderbilt, and Washington University in St. Louis.
While he was at first hesitant about turning down so many high-profile schools, Nelson said Alabama’s selective honors college helped persuade him the public university was the right choice.
“It was kind of amazing being around so many like-minded students, which is why I think I’ll be able to have a similar situation (to an Ivy League school), considering the type of students they’re attracting,” he said.
Nelson, who earned a 34 out of 36 on his ACT and a 2260 out of 2400 on the SAT, plans to attend medical school and become a doctor after he finishes undergrad.
“With people being in debt for years and years, it wasn’t a burden that Ronald wanted to take on and it wasn’t a burden that we wanted to deal with for a number of years after undergraduate,” the teen’s dad, Ronald Sr., said of his son’s savvy college decision. “We can put that money away and spend it on his medical school, or any other graduate school.”
Nelson said he’s certain he’ll get into a top medical school so long as he works hard enough.
“The Ivy League experience would certainly be something amazing, to make these connections, and have these amazing professors,” he said. “But I really do think I’ll be able to make the same experience for myself at the college I chose.”