An Atlanta teenager got accepted into over 50 colleges and achieved her goal of not paying a penny for college by earning more than $1.3 million in scholarships.
Westlake High School Senior and student council president Daya Brown set high standards for herself, all of which she met.
“I knew I had to be better for not only myself but better for my family,” Brown told 11Alive.
After participating in the Harvard Diversity Project, Brown maneuvered into entrepreneurship by creating her production company and starting her podcast, The Scholar Social — a platform where Brown and other Atlanta teens discuss controversial and educational topics to educate other teenagers.
She managed it all while doing her duties as the Co-President of the BETA Club and as a member of the National Honors Society and 21st Century Leaders.
Brown managed to obtain her latest success by starting early.
“I started that process during my sophomore year, started listing out every college to go to,” she said. “I was already looking at scholarships. In each quarter, I’m writing a different goal. Colleges have made it so easy. You have virtual visits. Go to those visits, make sure you do your research.”
Brown took three hours of her day for about four months and put them toward applications. While many presume the textbook way leads to acceptance, Brown shut down the myth, saying colleges look for individuality.
“Colleges love the uniqueness about applications,” Brown explained. “Sign up for those internships and go apply for that job. Go to that volunteer experience because they want to see who you are as a person.”
Some things that made Brown unique were that she’s an award-winning teen journalist for VOX ATL, she shadowed at CNN Headquarters and Aspire TV throughout high school and she became the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s youngest delegate to the Global Youth Conference.
But Brown’s success didn’t fall into her lap. It took a lot of dedication and motivation to work through the struggles that followed completing college and scholarship applications.
“Pain became my inspiration,” she shared. “Black people were once in a point where education was not an option. And I think with this accomplishment specifically. It has really made me like think I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams.”
The National Society of High School scholar would write down goals for herself each quarter in hopes of meeting them. Eventually, she did.
Brown will attend Duke University this fall, majoring in production and journalism. She also plans on continuing her work with VOX and The Scholar Social, amplifying Black voices.