She wanted to make sure she had options!
18-year-old Daya Brown is a senior at Westlake High School in Atlanta, Georgia, Good Morning America (GMA) reports. Like many teens right now, Daya spent a large majority of her high school experience in quarantine as a result of the pandemic. However, Daya fared pretty well, focusing her energy on preparing for college.
“So I started my process in quarantine during my sophomore year. I started to curate a list of schools that had certain majors or were great in what I wanted to study, which was mass communications or film,” she told reporters.
Once she narrowed down her list, she focused on her extracurricular activities, making sure that she took on things that were reflective of her passions: poetry, film production, and writing.
“It all came down to doing those extracurricular activities, because I think a lot of the times students don’t understand that you have to be more than just a student,” said Daya.
She also launched her own business, Elom & Co. Productions, which helped to amplify the work of up-and-coming creators. For Daya, it was an opportunity to really crystalize who she was as both a student and a person. It also was an added resume boost.
When she started applying, she didn’t really think about a certain number of colleges or anything of that nature, she just wanted to make sure she hit all the ones that offered her the opportunity to pursue a career in her interests and would assist her financially, devoting a couple hours each day to applying to schools. All that hard work paid off and now Daya has been accepted to more than 50 colleges and universities, receiving more than $1.3 million in scholarship money, something she said is as much a testament to her hard work as it is a relief.
“It really wasn’t about the number of schools I applied to, it was really about making sure that I had options for my parents to really sit back and relax. Student loans are something that I do not want. So this is kind of a gift, both to myself and to them,” the teen explained.
Daya has decided to attend Duke University, saying that her visit made her feel welcomed and she was able to connect with a lot of other Black students who had similar interests. She plans on majoring in visual media studies with a minor in journalism, crediting “her village” with getting her this far.
“My father, he is a pastor [and] an educator, so I learned my rhetorical skills from him. My mother, she’s creative, so I learned her visionary attributes. My grandmother, she makes all of my gowns, so I learned all of her artistic abilities. My brother, he reminds me to like laugh every day. At the end of the day, I believe my village really showed up,” said Daya.
Her advice to other students preparing for the college application process is to just push through and get the work done, and if you can try to do it with some joy.
“No, it wasn’t easy. Yes, you have to stay up many nights to get the work done if you want the GPA, but at the same time, it wouldn’t feel like such a burden, if it’s your passion. I wake up every day, happy about what I do,” she explained.
Congratulations Daya! We are so proud of you!
Atlanta teen gets accepted to more than 50 colleges, earns over $1.3 million in scholarships/Photo Courtesy of @TheDaya Brown/Instagram