The 16-year-old American high schooler who set what is believed to be a US record after collecting more than $10m in college scholarship offers is bound for the Ivy League.
Dennis Maliq Barnes announced on Friday that he plans to enroll at Cornell University for the fall semester to study computer science after his 24 May graduation from New Orleans’s International high school. The Ithaca, New York, university only accepts 9% of applicants, and just 7% of its 15,000 or so students are Black like Barnes, according to the US News & World Report.
“Today is an exciting day for me and my family,” read a statement from Barnes that also thanked his family, his high school community and a local university where he has already accumulated 27 college credits. “I look forward to working with Cornell … over the course of my undergraduate education.”
Barnes gained admission into nearly 190 universities and colleges across the US, with about 150 of them offering him a total of more than $10m in scholarship offers.
Officials at International high maintain that Barnes has attracted more offered scholarship money than any incoming college freshman ever in US history.
In 2019, when she graduated from Early College academy in Lafayette, Louisiana, Normandie Cormier received just under $9.5m in scholarship offers from about 140 schools and sought recognition from Guinness World Records.
Guinness has said it doesn’t keep track of such a record. Cormier has said Guinness ultimately told her that it did not find anyone else in the US with more offered college scholarship money than her, but the organization couldn’t grant record-holder status to her because of differences with higher education systems elsewhere in the world.
Coincidentally, Cormier chose to attend Xavier University in New Orleans – which is about three miles (4.8km) from Barnes’s school – and still lives in the city.
Known best to his friends by his middle name Maliq, Barnes is a National Honor Society member whose fluency in Spanish has earned him both a diploma from Spain’s educational, cultural and sports ministry as well as an award from the country’s honorary consul in New Orleans.
He competed on the basketball and track-and-field teams at his school, which promoted him out of his sophomore and junior years as he maintained an unusually high cumulative grade point average of about 4.98.
Though he is younger than the typical US high school senior, Barnes has already started accumulating college credits through a dual enrollment program offered by Southern University at New Orleans.
Barnes has said he hopes the national headlines his record has drawn will inspire his peers to surpass academic expectations that others set upon them. He has also said he wants prospective college scholars to realize how much academic aid is out there, especially as the US student debt crisis has left more than 45 million Americans owing a collective $1.7tn.
Adierah Berger, the head of International high, said in a statement: “Dennis is already a bright star and I know his star will shine even brighter when he sets foot on Cornell’s campus.”
A statement from Cornell congratulated Barnes on his acceptance to the university, saying he, his fellow incoming students and their families had already accomplished much “to reach this exciting moment in their educational journeys”.
“We are excited to welcome this incredible group of future leaders to our campus community in just a few months,” Cornell’s statement said.
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