This Teen Applied To 20 Of The Country's Top Colleges — And Got Full Scholarships To All Of Them

"It's something I'm proud of because I see my hard work paying off, determination paying off, sacrifices paying off."

Most teens only have a couple options to consider when sorting out their college acceptance letters. But Micheal Brown has 20. The 17-year-old from Houston, Texas was accepted to all 20 highly selective colleges he applied to — and every single one of them offered him a full-ride. Brown received a mix of merit and financial-based scholarships and grants that ensure his college education will be free as well as $260,000 in additional scholarship offers.


"It's something I'm proud of because I see my hard work paying off, determination paying off, sacrifices paying off," Brown told CNN. 

In a video taken by his mother, Brown logs on to Stanford's admission portal to check the status of his application while surrounded by friends. One look at the screen and he knew his dream had come true. Through screams and tears, Brown hugged his cheering friends.

That was the first of many acceptance letters to come. Among the other schools Brown was accepted to are Ivy Leagues such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania as well as other highly selective schools such as Northwestern, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Michigan. 

Brown credits his mom, Berthinia Rutledge-Brown, for his success. After she got divorced, she enrolled in a program at Houston Community College to get a better job. With help from her degree, she was able to become a licensed counselor when Brown was still in grade school. 

"That's the first time I understood what going to college might look like," he said. "And seeing how important it was to my mom was important to me," Brown told the Houston Chronicle. "I don't even think she really knew that I saw, that it had an impact on me — but it did."

In addition to support and inspiration from his mom, Brown got into all of these schools by excelling in his classes. He had a 4.68 grade point average when he applied to college, an SAT score of 1540 out of 1600, and an ACT score of 34 out of 36, according the New York Times. His extracurriculars included internships, the school debate team, and school activities such as Key Club. He was also involved in guidance programs such as QuestBridgeEmerge Fellowship and Breakthrough Collaborative, which aim to match students from low-income communities with higher education opportunities.

"I want people to be informed and get access to these same programs," Brown told CNN. 

No word yet on which school Brown will attend in the fall, but he told the New York Times that he plans to major in political science. He hopes to ultimately pursue law and is considering becoming a public defender.

"I want to remain humble through all this," Brown told The Washington Post. "Out of all the students to achieve similar feats, I am just very happy and very honored to share my story and inspire other students."

Cover image via Brian A Jackson /


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