Teen Turns Down Eight Ivy League Institutions to Save Money for Medical School

May 28, 2015


If you spend much time online, you’ve likely run across the surprising story of Ronald Nelson, the high school senior who recently said “Thanks, but no, thanks” to eight – count ’em EIGHT –  Ivy League schools. Nelson was accepted, but turned down offers from Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Penn, and Cornell, not to mention the few safety schools to which he also applied – Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Washington University, and New York University.

“I originally applied to so many schools because I didn’t want to close any of my doors off,” Nelson told The Today Show after the story broke and went viral on social media. “I didn’t really want to short sell myself, so when I got into all those schools, it was of course an incredible surprise.”

Perhaps not to everyone was surprised. After all, Nelson is a National Merit scholar who earned nearly perfect standardized test scores, took 15 Advanced Placement classes while attending Houston High School and graduated with a 4.58 weighted GPA. Oh, and he rocks the saxophone, too. What did surprise seeming the entire online nation was that Nelson turned down every Ivy League offer, plus offer from some of the most country’s most prestigious non-Ivy League schools.

Why? His answer proved that Nelsons isn’t just incredibly smart – He’s also wise beyond his years.

“I plan on going to medical school, so I figured I better just save that money now and hopefully spend it on grad school in the future,” said Nelson, who ultimately chose the University of Alabama. While each of the Ivy League offers included a partial scholarship, Alabama was able to offer a full ride. Nelson’s decision likely will save him upward of $200,000.

The fact is that medical school is costly. If you plan a career in medicine, anything you can do to get your finances in order will be well worth it. WOLFPACC offers these tips:

1. Know your credit score: Request a copy of your credit report each year and, if there’s room for improvement, get to it! Make all credit card, loan and other payments on time and pay off as much of your debt as possible. Also, limit new credit applications. Having a high credit score can help you score lower loan rates, make it easier to rent apartments and boost your job offer opportunities.

2. Create a budget and stick to it: Keep a full accounting of your daily expenses and look for ways to cut costs. Examples include sharing housing costs with a roommate, carpooling or taking public transportation to and from classes or work, and skipping the coffee shop for homebrewed coffee instead. Over time, the savings really add up.

3. Seek financial aid: Every school offers some form of financial aid including various grants and loans. Research the opportunities early to make sure you meet all eligibility requirements and deadlines. A few to check into include Direct PLUS Loans, Direct Stafford Loans, needs-based scholarships and federal Pell grants.

Make the most of the money you’ll spend on your medical training by assuring you’ll have the possible best chance for success. Call 904-290-3140 and speak with a WOLFPACC enrollment specialist about our Pre Med Head Start, COMLEX and USMLE preparation courses today.