EDISON, N.J. (CBS 2) — Many parents dream of their children going to Harvard one day. But one local resident has actualized the goal of getting into the prestigious university — at 15 years old!
Saheela Ibraheem, of Edison, was also accepted to MIT and 13 other schools, including Princeton and Columbia before settling on Harvard after falling in love with the campus.
Ibraheem skipped two grades and said the key to success is figuring out what you love to learn as early as possible — something she did at age 5.
“If you are passionate about what you do, and I am passionate about most of these things, especially with math and science, it will work out well,” Ibraheem told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.
Her mother, Shakirat Ibraheem, said Saheela has been way ahead of the academic game since kindergarten — never cutting corners and trying to do everything on her own.
“She’s like always independent,” the teen’s mother said. “I never get to help with her homework because she’d say ‘it’s my work mommy, not yours.'”
The Harvard-bound teen speaks Arabic, Spanish and Latin. She said she hopes to become a research scientist and study the brain.
Ibraheem’s teachers at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School said their student was an old soul.
“I believe that she’s 15 years old, because I’m told that. But other than that I have a hard time,” Jim O’Halloran said.
In addition to academics, Ibraheem plays the trombone, softball and soccer. Despite her activities, Ibraheem said her number one priority was her family. Her 7-year-old brother Saleem was her biggest cheerleader when it came to picking a college.
“I was really psyched because she got into a great school and I wanted to go to Harvard, too,” her brother said.
As far as Ibraheem’s advice for her fellow aspiring students?
“Kids should try to listen to their parents most of the time. They know what they’re doing,” she said.
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