Attending Harvard University is an accomplishment no matter your age, but especially when you’re only 15 years old. Saheela Ibraheem was accepted into the esteemed university before her Sweet 16 after getting into 13 other colleges, including California Institute of Technology, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Williams College, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Washington University in St. Louis.

The over-achiever often excelled beyond her years. She skipped 6th grade at Conackamack Middle School in Piscataway, New Jersey, and 9th grade at the private Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, New Jersey. Her accomplishments extend outside the classroom. She is a member of her school’s softball, soccer and swim teams and plays the trombone.

She credits her success to her Nigerian parents, who taught her subjects outside the school’s curriculum, and her own willingness to stay motivated: “I try my best in everything I do. Anyone who’s motivated can work wonders.”

Congrats, Saheela Ibraheem!


  • C.

    Wow! This story just motivated me to dream big, and work hard today!

  • Rakel

    Best wishes!!! Thank you for highlighting her success.

  • YP

    I love reading stories like this!

  • The Moon in the Sky

    It is important to note that her parents were involved in her education, because there are a lot of parents out here who expect greatness from their children while doing nothing to nurture that greatness.

  • Dalili

    Well now!! Hear, hear!! **Applause**

  • Trisha

    Black excellence 110%… Congratulations to Ms. Saheela Ibraheem!

    These stories are so very inspirational.

  • Beauty Is Diverse


  • ArabellaMichaela

    Wonderful story! She is the type of student any college would love to have because of her excellence and good attitude. She would be an asset to the student experience.

  • omfg

    i have heard that nigerian immigrants actually do better than asian immigrants.

    for some reason, people never want to believe that.

    anyway, congrats to her. that’s an amazing accomplishment. wow.

  • yannii

    Whenever I see black prodigies like her, they always come from Carribean or African parents. I hate to make the generalization, but I wished more American parents pushed their children to be great rather than relying on the school system.

    Go head Saheela!

  • E.M.S.

    It is truly inspiring to see such a successful young mind at this age. However, I always worry about someone so young attending college. It’s hard enough to be on your own and make adult decions starting at 18.

    Hopefully she is armed with enough social knowledge that she can protect herself from the dangers of the college life. But best of luck to her!

  • Teflon Jawn (@Author_JGail)

    Amazing. Congratulations Saheela!

  • noirluv45

    That’s very true! The media sure won’t tell it.

  • Jaslene

    That’s great. I just want to know what is it about Harvard do we go in and on about because its really expensive and ver old?

  • noirluv45

    yannii, I truly believe there are American kids on the same path, except if we depend on the media to inform us, they won’t. I think a lot of black people get information solely based on what’s shown or exposed by a media that has no interest in making blacks look good.

  • yannii

    I mean it’s Harvard. I’m sure there are other equally distinguished schools out there but Harvard has prestige that cannot be matched. We live in a world where unfortunately your choice of school may hold more weight than GPA.

  • AJ

    Wow, that just motivated my 33 year old self.
    You go girl!

  • Its not even just a black thing. Kids who come from immigrant families (particularly those who are first generation) tend to do better than American kids (of all races).

  • Asampete

    Even though Western media loves to paint us as a decrepit country filled with internet con artists, stories likes like this make me even prouder to be Nigerian.

  • seye

    This is wonderful and great. I’m proud of her

  • Starla

    It’s good synergy in action here. You have a brilliant mind with drive and focus who has found herself with parents who are willing to push her as far as she can go, so of course success is the only outcome for her. I am very happy for her and her family on her wonderful achievement. Nothing beats discipline on the road to success.

  • Kam

    It’s a cultural difference and in my many years of teaching college students I notice it lessens as the children move away from the parent culture. Among my African and Asian students I notice the ones who are more assimilated or identify more with American culture tend to do a bit worse than those who don’t. (Although they all get really good grades overall.) The American orientation towards the amount of hard work is just different especially when social activities are on the line. Also Americans are more likely to believe grades are determined by inherent ability while Asian and African cultures seem to believe in hard work.

  • The Comment

    Clone her parents! Clone her!

  • antisocialengineering


    another DUMB negro who will be trained to do white supremacy’s dirty work.

    pfft, most of the black people who made a real difference for the better in black people’s lives, never saw the inside or outside of a class room.

    Nothing going on here . . . moving on.

  • Purple Rain

    I did a brief search of this young lady and learned that this story was originally published by the media in 2011. I’m sure the young lady has excelled just fine at Harvard.

  • sealinewumanwuman

    It’s true, Nigerian immigrants are the largest numbers obtaining higher education degrees like masters and doctorates.

  • BeanBean

    that’s 100% true. Nigerians don’t play around with education :)

  • BeanBean

    Aw, beautiful young lady, amazingly smart! I’m very happy for her, I know she’ll go far.

  • gmoney

    before opening knew she was Nigerian

  • binks

    Congrats to her and congrats to her parents for creating and furthering the initiative of knowledge and education.

  • ScriptTease

    I’m sure that little (privileged) white girl from a previous article is pissed about this.

  • Anthony

    I just pray that success continues into her adult life.

  • Ms. Vee

    This young lady is truly an inspiration! She is the one that black parents should mention to their children when wanting them to look up to someone who positive, hardworking and undeterred by negative/false perceptions. I wish her all the success in life. :)

  • Jaslene


  • Jaslene

    What the fuck do you do?

  • Jaslene

    Thank you for answering and I believe you are right.

  • Robin

    Black Excellence indeed!

    Love this!

  • Alfalfa

    Does she know what she’s studying? I’m surprised by her mix of schools. Caltech is so incredibly math/sci heavy that there are very few fields in which it and, say, Brown, are both good targets.

    But congrats to her! I go to one of the schools she applied to and had a 16 year old roommate as a freshman. Being here at 16 was sort of crazy for her, so I hope this girl has a successful, fun, and (relatively) calm year.

  • Mademoiselle

    I was a little surprised too. My first thought was I hope she had vouchers for all those applications because that sounded like an expensive achievement. And that led me to wonder what her educational/career goal might be. It turns out, she’s a STEM student, and her goal is to be a research scientist, studying the brain. I’m sure it felt wonderful to know so many schools want her. I hope she accomplishes much more.

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