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The real reason this student got into every Ivy League school (and it’s not just grades)

Kwasi Enin

William Floyd School District

Have you heard about Kwasi Enin?

He's the 17-year-old high-school student from Long Island, N.Y., who pulled off the feat of getting in to all eight Ivy League colleges – Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale.

How do you pull off a feat that extraordinary? Straight As and a 2,250 out of a possible 2,400 SAT score certainly help.

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So, too, apparently, does a love of music.

In his admissions essay, obtained by the New York Post, Enin writes about all the ways in which music has helped him grow as a student and a person.

"Music has become the spark of my intellectual curiosity," writes Enin, who has played the viola for nine years.

"I directly developed my capacity to think creatively around problems due to the infinite possibilities in music."

By participating in musicals, "I am truly part of my community's culture – and eventually its history," Enin writes.

He also credits music with teaching him "the importance of leadership, teamwork, and friendship," as well as "the importance of order and balance."

As he explains, "Leadership is not always about directing others. The most important task of a leader is to create harmony between each member of the group, which reveals the group's maximum potential. With improvement and balance comes success, and music taught me all of these virtues."

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The eight Ivy League schools have acceptance rates that range from 5.9 per cent to 14 per cent, so it's amazing that any high-school student could get the green light from all of them.

Enin's essay is a reminder of how important learning music can be for a young person.

For a long time, it's been a commonly held belief that learning music boosts a kid's IQ. But last year, researchers at Harvard looked at studies that examine that link and concluded there is "very little evidence supporting the idea that music classes enhance children's cognitive development."

The researchers pointed out that doesn't mean we should stop teaching kids music.

"We don't teach kids Shakespeare because we think it will help them do better on the SATs. We do it because we believe Shakespeare is important," they said in a release.

But the researchers never explained exactly what they meant by "important."

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Enin's essay offers a great definition.

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More


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