Climbing the ivy, OHS student gets full ride to Yale

Ivy league schools: notorious for their low acceptance rates and high tuition. For Shaun Lamar (12) going to one seemed like a tantalizing dream, until it suddenly became a reality when he was accepted at Yale University with a full-ride.

“I’ve always felt I needed to go someplace and to do that I needed a college education,” Lamar said. “Neither of my parents have a college degree, they both dropped out. So it was really important to see what they’ve done with their lives and see that I have opportunities. They told me not to do what they did.”

So Lamar worked hard to secure admittance at Yale, which has a roughly six percent acceptance rate. During high school, he’s taken 13 Advanced Placement classes and joined a variety of clubs.

“Last year, I feel like was the most important,” Lamar said. “All of my last year was just trying to impress admissions council … I took an AP exam that I didn’t take a class for. So it was really just trying hard to please other people.”

When it actually came down to admissions, Lamar went through a non-profit organization called Questbridge which helps academically excelling, low-income students achieve full, four year scholarships to top tier universities.

Lamar applied through Questbridge and once he became a finalist, he ranked his top schools with Yale as his first choice. Lamar was walking into a HOSA meeting when he found out.

“(I felt) so much shock,” Lamar said. “Because I didn’t expect any match, and to be matched with my first school was amazing.”

The university only matched with 48 people out of all who applied through Questbridge. Yale’s yearly tuition and fees cost about $60,000.

In the past four years, OHS has only had four students go to Ivy league schools, with specifically one other student going to Yale.

“He could have pretty much gotten into anywhere he wanted to and I think that that’s a credit to him and all the hard work that he’s done,” guidance counselor Mr. Steve King said. “And it just shows you that the curriculum that we have here is outstanding and that students can push themselves as hard as they like. He has a plan and he knows what he wants to do and he’s working towards it.”

While at Yale, Lamar plans to major in molecular biology with an emphasis in neurobiology, in hopes of becoming a neurosurgeon.