If you truly believe in a cause to the point of repeating it 100 times on your college application, it may get you into Stanford University. Ziad Ahmed recently made it to the prestigious institution doing exactly that -- writing #BlackLivesMatter 100 times as the answer to a question on the application.
The 18-year-old high school senior from Princeton, New Jersey, is a practicing Muslim and an activist fighting against racism in the country. When he came across the question — “What matters to you and why?” — Ahmed took an unorthodox approach.
“As I completed my application, my academic work, volunteer activity, extracurricular and activism created a picture, but it became apparent to me as I neared that final question that the picture lacked my voice,” Ahmed told CNN in an interview. “It was important that to me that the admissions officers literally hear my impatience for justice and the significance of this issue.”
After being placed on a TSA watchlist because of his Muslim name, Ahmed founded of a non-profit organization that attempts to defy stereotypes and help young people to defeat hate and promote tolerance. The organization, Redefy, also earned him a spot on last year’s “15 young prodigies who are already changing the world,” published by Business Insider.
Ahmed believes his identity as a Muslim made him the target of hate and he could relate to African Americans when it came to being the victims of bigotry. He said, “The Islamophobia that is heavily present in this country is connected to the legacy of racism and oppression that the black community continues to face.”
The teen was in for a surprise with his college application. In a post on Twitter, Ahmed announced that he had been accepted at Stanford’s Class of 2021. The tweet has almost 10,000 retweets and 20,000 likes.
“I was actually stunned when I opened the update and saw that I was admitted,” Ahmed said in an email to Mic. “I didn’t think I would get admitted to Stanford at all, but it’s quite refreshing to see that they view my unapologetic activism as an asset rather than a liability.”Ahmed has also been accepted to Yale University and Princeton University and is yet to make his decision.