Enin, who was accepted to all eight Ivy League schools when he applied to college, offers advice and encouragement to this year's student who did the same
When Kwasi Enin, an 18-year-old who was accepted to all eight Ivy League schools last year, found out New York’s Harold Ekeh accomplished the same feat, he proposed a few words of wisdom from one scholar to another.
“My advice to Harold, and all people with such a tough college decision, is to compare financial aid, visit each school, and find the environment that feels conducive to both academic success and deep friendship,” Enin tells PEOPLE.
Although Enin and Harold have not met in person, the two corresponded over email when Enin found out about Harold’s success.
Enin, who chose to go to Yale, says it was “definitely the best choice of school” for him – and even nudged Harold toward becoming a “Yalie.”
“He shot me an email saying how proud he is of me and congratulating me,” Harold tells PEOPLE. “He dropped a little ‘Go Yale!’ there too. He also told me to stay focused throughout the process. There may be distractions along the way, but you have to kind of choose where you feel comfortable enough to call home for the next four years but also a place that will challenge you.”
Although the 17-year-old high school senior has not decided yet which school he will attend this fall (the deadline is May 1), he says he actually is leaning toward Yale.
“I competed there for Model U.N., and the people there are really passionate,” he says. “And three students from Yale mentored me through the college application process.”
Harold’s parents moved their family to the United States from Nigeria when he was 8 years old to give him more opportunities. He says he based his college essays on that experience.
His mother, Roseline, was sitting next to him when he received the emails from each Ivy League school.
“I was so thankful and excited just speechless,” she tells PEOPLE.
When asked where she’d like him to go to college, she says, “God will direct him to the right school.”
No matter what school Harold chooses, he wants to study to one day become a neurosurgeon.
He says he has always been interested in “what’s on the inside” and how we function as humans. When he was 11 years old, his grandmother Gold was showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. From then on, he wanted to help find ways to prevent the disease from affecting his mother or aunt in the future.
When Harold isn’t hitting the books, he says he likes to hang out with his friends, go to Chipotle and try new things.
“There has to be a balance in your life, and you have to have fun while you’re working hard,” he says.
Enin, who is still at Yale studying molecular, cellular and development biology, says he was not shocked when he found out Harold was also accepted to all eight Ivy League schools.
“I knew once my story had reached a wide audience last year that many parents and students would be inspired to make their kids and themselves push incredibly hard to make a similar story happen,” Enin says.