People.com Human Interest N.J. High School Senior Who Grew Up in Nigeria Is Accepted to 7 Ivy League Schools David Odekunle plans to study in biology and hopes to become a doctor By Rachel DeSantis Rachel DeSantis Instagram Twitter Rachel DeSantis is a writer/reporter covering music at PEOPLE. She has held various roles since joining the brand in 2019, and was previously a member of the human interest team. As a music writer, Rachel interviews everyone from rock-and-roll legends to up-and-coming stars for magazine feature stories and digital news stories. Rachel is based in New York City, and previously worked as an entertainment reporter at the New York Daily News after getting her start as an Entertainment Weekly intern. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. People Editorial Guidelines Published on April 27, 2021 01:20 PM Share Tweet Pin Email For many high school seniors, getting into one Ivy League school is cause to celebrate — let alone seven. But that's exactly what New Jersey student David Odekunle has done, receiving seven acceptances to almost all of the country's most elite universities. "It just kept getting better and better," David told WCBS. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime feeling." The sense of accomplishment is strong for David, who grew up in the small town of Jebba, Nigeria and briefly lived in Scotland before his family relocated to Bloomfield, New Jersey, according to local outlet the Daily Voice. "Growing up in Nigeria, I had so much more adversity and challenges," David told WCBS. "So being able to use that to not let it deter me from achieving what I want to achieve is what has played such a huge role in my life." RELATED VIDEO: Woman Reacts to College Acceptance Letter with Mom on Video Call Upon moving to the U.S., David told the Daily Voice he knew the importance of getting involved, so he joined the chess club, mock trial club and the poetry club, all of which helped grow his social circle and academic skills. His sense of drive has been helped along by his family; his parents both became doctors upon moving to New Jersey, while his brother Emmanuel was also accepted to multiple Ivy League schools two years ago, WCBS reported. Vanessa Bryant Shares Daughter Natalia Was Accepted into USC, Says Kobe Would've Been 'So Proud' of Her "My secret is that I encourage them to be hard-working," mom Florence Odekunle told the outlet. "I always tell them hard work, it doesn't kill people. When you are hard-working, you will reap the benefits later in life." David has yet to make his final decision as to where he'll head in the fall, but knows that he wants to study biology, and later go to medical school to become a doctor, Patch reported. He has 15 total options to choose from, including Princeton University, Yale University, Brown University, Columbia University, Dartmouth University, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania, according to the Daily Voice. High School Senior Opens College Acceptance Letter at Mom's Grave: 'She Would Want to Be Involved' "We are all unique, and each of us has our own set of interests and passions, and being able to clearly communicate one's story is essential," he told the outlet of advice he'd give to those applying to college. "There is no certain mold one needs to fit, but as long as one is committed and staying true to oneself, then one can have the best chances of being accepted into great universities."