Fifteen-Year-Old Whiz Kid Will Head to Harvard in the Fall

Fifteen-Year-Old Whiz Kid Will Head to Harvard in the Fall

After being accepted into 13 colleges — many of them Ivy League schools — 15-year-old Saheela Ibraheem chooses Harvard to continue her education.

Published May 9, 2011

The 2011-2012 incoming class at the number-one ranking undergraduate college just got a little more diversified. The driving force behind the dynamics? Fifteen-year-old Saheela Ibraheem.


As the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Ibraheem will enter the freshman class as one of the youngest students at the Ivy League school, as she heads to Harvard University this fall for the 2011-2012 academic year.


The teen from New Jersey will be a member of Harvard University’s class of 2015, which previously reported admitted 11.8 African-American students for the 2011-2012 academic year — a possible record for the school.


After excelling at a very young age, being part of a select group of students is nothing new to Ibraheem. She skipped sixth grade and after no longer feeling challenged by public schools, she enrolled at Wardlaw-Hartridge School — a 420-student college preparatory day school in Edison, New Jersey. She bypassed freshman year and enrolled as a 10th grader.


"I was so excited. I got into college!" she exclaimed after receiving her first acceptance letter from California Institute of Technology, reported New Jersey Online. Shortly after receiving that piece of mail, letters started to pile in from Stanford, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Cornell, Brown, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Williams College, Stanford, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis.


Ibraheem was admitted into all but one school to which she applied—Yale University. She says she’s not sure why they turned her down, but her family suspects it might have been her age.


Ibraheem isn’t sure of her major, but expects it will likely be either neurobiology or neuroscience. She plans to become a research scientist who studies the brain.


Yale’s loss is definitely Harvard’s gain.


(Photo: Michelle Daino /

Written by Danielle Wright


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