Stefan Stoykov is the valedictorian of his class of 802 students at North Central High School in Indianapolis and he scored a perfect 2400 on the SAT.
But none of that compares to his latest accomplishment:
Last month, the 18-year-old was accepted into all eight Ivy League universities.
“I applied to all of these schools with the hope that I would be accepted into one of them,” Stoykov told Business Insider in an email. “I couldn’t believe it when I received acceptances from all eight of the Ivy League schools.”
This is all the more impressive when you take into account that 10 years ago, arriving to the United States as an immigrant from Bulgaria, the n0w 18-year-old did not speak a word of English. Stoykov was just eight years old when he started second grade in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“I started crying on the first day of class,” he told ABC News. “I didn’t understand what was going on around me.”
However, by the end of the year, Stoykov had learned a lot of English words, according to The Indianapolis Star, and by third grade he was writing full sentences — although they were sometimes grammatically problematic.
“By 8th grade, I felt that I had a firm grasp of the language,” Stoykov said in a recent statement.
Many of the students accepted to all eight Ivies over the past few years have been immigrants, or the children of immigrant parents. Over time, his experiences learning English actually helped him academically, he explained to Business Insider.
“My experience as an immigrant forced me to apply independent effort into learning English before I could understand the coursework that my peers worked on. Over time however, I’ve come to see my experience in learning English as a benefit, as I’ve found that learning new languages like French has become easier for me,” he said.
Stoykov has no firm idea of what he wants to study in college — planning to spend his first year exploring different academic subjects — but is currently considering majoring in economics and history.
“I have always had a particular passion for my history classes. In my European History class, I had the chance to write research papers on topics I had never previously encountered at school such as the Bulgarian National Revival. However, I have also enjoyed science classes like physics and chemistry,” he said.
With 18 colleges to choose from — all eight Ivies, as well as other top schools such as Stanford, Amherst, and Duke — Stoykov said he is not sure where he will ultimately end up.
“I want to find the college that will provide the best fit for me and that will offer the best possible financial aid package,” Stoykov said. “I know that I will have many academic opportunities to pursue wherever I choose to go to college.”
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