For many high school students, deciding on a college comes down to one or two schools. For Arianna Alexander of Chicago, it came down to more than two dozen—including most of the Ivy League. Chicago's WLS-TV reports that after being accepted to 26 schools (including six Ivies), the Kenwood Academy's valedictorian has picked the University of Pennsylvania after the kind of collegiate competition that's typically reserved for students who excel at shooting basketballs or throwing footballs. But schools offered a total of more than $3 million in scholarships to Alexander because of her academic record.
As for why she applied to so many schools, WLS-TV suggests those millions may have had something to do with it. It reports that a previous Kenwood grad's scholarships tallied up to more than $1 million, and "I planted the seed in Arianna's mind that you can do the same thing," says her father. "So when the process got started and a million was achieved, let's go for two. I said let's go for three and she did it." Her grade point average is 5.1—or 1.1 points higher than she would have achieved had she merely achieved straight A's. Alexander says she wants to be an entrepreneur and open four restaurants after graduating from Penn's Wharton School; she has already begun developing the menus. (More college stories.)