High school senior Victor Agbafe just spent a week touring some of the most exclusive universities in the world — Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.
These three schools ended up as Agbafe’s top choices after he was admitted to all 14 colleges he applied to this year — including all eight Ivy League universities. Next year though, Agbafe will head up from Wilmington, North Carolina to Cambridge, Massachusetts as a member of Harvard’s Class of 2019.
Agbafe was particularly drawn in by a presentation Harvard President Drew Faust and Harvard Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons gave to the admitted students. The administrators, he said, seemed very genuine about the potential Class of 2019 members making their own decision of where to attend.
“They didn’t try to push, push, sell, sell,” Agbafe said. “They really told us more about the opportunities they had to offer. It wasn’t about them trying to sell us on a brand.”
Agbafe said this was different from the presentation he saw at other universities, such as Stanford.
“I just remember that they would compare it — ‘We have this and that school in Cambridge can’t offer you that,'” he said.
While this wasn’t the main reason that Agbafe made his decision, he said it was a factor in choosing Harvard.
However, Agbafe may have made up his mind before he even saw the administrators speak. As soon as he stepped onto Harvard’s campus, the new Crimson student said, he thought “Wow, this is just a very vibrant place.”
“In Cambridge, there was so much going on, both on the campus and off of it,” he told Business Insider. “I felt like when I was on campus that it was the place for me, that the atmosphere and the people I was talking to were the most intellectual.”
Agbafe said that while walking around Harvard, he felt that the university had “that perfect mix” of a great campus community and a strong connection to the outside world.
“It’s not like an isolated bubble. It’s really integrated into the community around you,” he said. “I feel like it makes sure you don’t lose a connection with the problems that people face, like poverty and hardships.”
Agbafe recalled one experience during his campus visit that helped cement his view of Harvard students.
His parents were looking for him to leave for the airport, Agbafe said, while he was visiting with friends. When his parents asked a Harvard student for directions, the student took the time to walk with them to find their son.
The Harvard students he met weren’t solely focused on academics, he said.
“They’re learning because they wanted to better themselves and society around them,” he said. “Everywhere gave you the opportunity to start giving back and preparing yourself for the future.”
He said he was particularly excited to work with Harvard’s Institute of Politics, as well as Phillips Brooks House, a student-run community service group.
It’s likely that Agbafe will be joined in Cambridge next year by some other students who were accepted into all eight Ivies. He said he ran into three others at Harvard’s and Yale’s admitted students days, and two others out West at Stanford.
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