Stanford Accepts Teen With Unusual Application Answer

Ziad Ahmed simply wrote '#BlackLivesMatter' 100 times in answer to one question
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2017 7:19 PM CDT
Muslim Teen Writes '#BlackLivesMatter' 100 Times on Stanford Application
He definitely believes in what he wrote.   (Getty Images/YinYang)

Repeating the same phrase 100 times on your college application wouldn't seem, at first glance, to be a winning strategy for gaining acceptance to a highly competitive school. But for Ziad Ahmed, it was part of what got him into Stanford, CBS News reports, with the university calling the 18-year-old a "fantastic match." Ahmed, a high school senior in Princeton, NJ, wanted to be "authentic" when answering one of the college's application questions, which asked him to describe, in 100 words or less, "What matters to you, and why?" His recurring answer, which stretched down the entire answer field: "#BlackLivesMatter," with Ahmed (who describes himself as an "unapologetic progressive activist") noting in an email to CBS that the "why" part of the question was "embodied in the words themselves," and that explaining the hashtag was just "inherently problematic."

On Saturday, Ahmed tweeted a pic of his answer and the Stanford congrats letter. Not that Ahmed is incapable of using more than three words and a hashtag to explain why this issue is important to him. "Declaring the humanity and value of black lives is necessitated by the painful reality that the collective humanity is frequently denied when perpetrators of violence enjoy impunity," he told CBS. Not everyone is impressed, notes Heat Street. "No way a black kid could get rewarded for doing the same thing," one commenter tweeted. Ahmed—a Muslim-American who founded a nonprofit to help teens fight stereotypes and who was honored for his efforts by then-President Obama in 2015—says he hasn't decided yet where he's going in the fall: He's also been accepted into Yale and nearby Princeton, per NBC News. (Another New Jersey teen has been accepted into all eight Ivy Leagues.)

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