Like most prospective students, Saheela O. Ibraheem applied to Harvard as a high school senior. She participated in her fair share of extracurriculars—she played softball, swam, sang in the choir, and played trombone in the jazz band—and she took a slew of Advanced Placement courses. But unlike many of the high school seniors who get accepted to Harvard, Ibraheem is 15 years old.
The aspiring neuroscientist skipped the sixth and the ninth grades before she entered her sophomore year at a private high school in Piscataway, N.J. Her parents—a quantitative analyst and an accountant—began teaching her advanced math at a young age. Ibraheem even scored a 700 in the mathematical reasoning section of the SAT as a fifth grader.
Ibraheem said she applied to 14 schools the the fall, including seven of the eight Ivy League schools. She received acceptance letters from all of them except Yale.
She made her decision to attend Harvard after visiting MIT and Harvard during their respective prefrosh weekends.
"I really liked both sets of people, but the Harvard people seemed like a better fit," Ibraheem said.
Although she's unsure what classes she will take next year, Ibraheem does have words of advice for others who might want to move forward at a young age.
"It's important to follow your passions, even if you don't discover that at a young age," Ibraheem said." You can just try all these things [and] work hard at whatever that is."