After being accepted to all eight Ivy League universities, Ronald Nelson decided on somewhere less flashy and more practical.
Ronald Nelson is a high school senior from Germantown, Tennessee. He is class president, has near-perfect standardized test scores, is a National Merit Scholar, and performs saxophone at the state level. So it's not that surprising that he's racking up the acceptance letters. In fact, he was one of the very few people this year accepted to all eight Ivy League universities, not to mention other top schools like Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and NYU. What is surprising is the decision he made: he's going to The University of Alabama. Roll Tide.
It's certainly an unexpected choice. I questioned his judgment when I first heard it, but that's because there's something I was forgetting: Ronald Nelson is smarter than me. Once you hear his reasoning, it's the smartest possible call.
Nelson's middle-class family would have to stretch to afford the tuition for any of the Ivies. The cost of attending those schools has skyrocketed recently, and Nelson didn't want to become one of the millions of people being crushed by student-loan debt. All of the schools offered him financial assistance, but he crunched the numbers and realized it wasn't enough.
Ronald Nelson, knowing something you don't know. (via ABC News)
His family makes too much money to qualify for a need-based scholarship, and as a rule, none of the Ivy League schools offer merit-based ones. On the other hand, Alabama does. There, he will receive a full academic scholarship, as well as admission into their elite University Fellows Experience, a part of the Honors College. A visit to UA's Tuscaloosa campus to meet with other prospective Fellows sealed the deal for Nelson. He told Business Insider:
"It was kind of amazing being around so many like-minded students, which is why I think I'll be able to have a similar situation [to an Ivy League school], considering the type of students they're attracting."
After he graduates, Nelson plans to attend medical school. He figures that he'll pay for that with the money he's saving by going to Alabama for undergrad. And considering he may have saved as much as $200,000 with his decision, he'll be in good shape.
We'll be keeping a close eye on Ronald Nelson in the future. Speaking for myself, I definitely want him to be my doctor. He's clearly got the book smarts, but his common sense is truly rare.