High school senior Victor Agbafe got into every college he applied to — including all eight Ivy League schools.
“If you look at the acceptance rates of these schools, it’s just so difficult to get into even one,” he said. “So I would have been happy at any one of them.”
The 17-year-old plans to become a neurosurgeon after he finishes college and medical school, eventually going into public policy. To this end, Agbafe said he was looking for a school with strong government, economics, and science programs.
Agbafe has graciously shared his Common Application essay with us, which we’ve reprinted in full below:
Why I Refuse to be Silent
“Wow I thought black people are supposed to be scary.” This honest and uncensored statement that a little girl recanted as I recited my biographical speech on Florence Nightingale clothed in the white sheets that represented Ms. Nightingale’s pure heart tore down my dignity and self-esteem to shreds like a machete chopping off the foundation of a plant. Nevertheless, these words instilled a spark in me to relentlessly stand up for others that are unjustly judged.
Many years later, I was prompted to act when my friend grumbled about how the Day of Silence for LGBTQ individuals that I and some members of the diversity club initiated was garbage. At first I ignored him, but then as I overheard him tell his likeminded friend that he would “never have a college roommate who was gay,” that very spark in me was lit and I felt morally obligated to challenge this prejudiced line of thinking.
I began to ask him if he would really refuse to have a roommate who was gay. As our conversation escalated, his face turned red, my heart beat faster, and our voices grew louder. My friend felt that one couldn’t be a devout Catholic like myself and yet support gay marriage. I countered by attacking his Biblical argument that gay marriage is a moral abomination with my belief that Christianity should be about love and acceptance of others. After a drawn-out argument in which I constantly refuted my friends points, I remembered that inner beat-down I had suffered many years ago that had really triggered my confrontational stance. This was about a whole lot more than a logical or ethical argument, this was about an attack on my human rights.
I don’t know what it feels like to be gay, bisexual, or transgender, but I do know what it is like to have a facade of inferiority hang over me because I look “scary.” I know how worthless it is to pat the victim on the back or assure him in times of privacy that “it doesn’t matter what she thinks.” This applies even in the most intimate of settings as I find my friend is not the only one I must confront on such issues but also my own personal heroes. “But granny regardless of what the bible says isn’t the struggle for gay rights just like the struggle for racial equality?” I know that it may seem wrong to challenge those that have unconditionally loved and taken care of you, but I must do so in order to ensure that others can feel this same love from all people.
I speak up because when one sees an injustice and just shrugs one’s shoulder it is just like promoting it. We live in a society of interdependence in which we must be allies for each other in all social spheres for the continual progress of society as a whole. If one analyses any prolonged societal injustice against any social group in history, one will see that a critical component in its persistence was the silent approval of the unaffected. I will admit that it can be very confusing at times to stand up for others, especially when it involves challenging ideal systems I’ve always considered absolute or people I look up to. But in order to reap the vast benefits of the great diversity around us we must take to heart the sorrows of our fellow human-being and make them our own.
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