Student Who Broke Scholarship Record Makes College Pick

Dennis Barnes, who got 180-plus acceptance letters, $10M in scholarships, selects Cornell
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2023 2:50 PM CDT
Updated May 6, 2023 7:45 AM CDT
This Kid Has $9M in College Scholarship Offers
Dennis Barnes.   (YouTube/WWLTV)
UPDATE May 6, 2023 7:45 AM CDT

Dennis Barnes is headed to Cornell. The New Orleans high school senior, who has received more than 180 college acceptance letters and upward of $10 million in scholarship funding, announced on Friday he'll be attending the Ivy League school in Ithaca, New York, in the fall, reports The 16-year-old said he plans to enter Cornell's engineering school to pursue a degree in computer science, with a career in software development in his sights. Law school is also a possibility down the line, he has previously said, per USA Today. As it turns out, the dozens of other schools vying for his presence may have never had a chance. "I've always known that I wanted to go to Cornell, so it was never really optioned, to be honest," Barnes says, per NOLA. "Once I saw the admission, I knew where I was going. I wasn't going anywhere else."

Apr 25, 2023 2:50 PM CDT

You don't know Dennis Barnes, but upward of 125 colleges do, and they'd like to welcome him through their doors come the fall term. The senior at the International High School of New Orleans has gotten at least that many acceptance letters from schools around the country thus far in the game—and those letters came with a total of $9 million in scholarship offers and counting, breaking a previous US record in 2019 of $8.7 million, reports That's apparently not enough for Barnes, who applied to 200 colleges and is hoping to get his scholarship number to $10 million by month's end.

"I submitted college applications in August, with an eye on raising the bar high for college admissions. Decision letters were an overflow in my mailbox," he says. Guinness Book of World Records has been contacted to see about updating the record, NOLA notes. Barnes is looking to double major in computer science and criminal justice, notes WDSU, and he looks pretty darn good on paper: 4.98 cumulative grade point average; leadership in National Honor Society; dual enrollment at Southern University of New Orleans for the past two years; fluent in Spanish; and officially qualified by the Institute Cervantes vis a vis Spain's Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports.

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Barnes is set to announce his school of choice on May 2, and he'll graduate high school on May 24. "The road to a successful future is to plan ahead, network with the collegiate partners, and know that if you can see your vision, you can achieve your goal," he says. (More uplifting news stories.)

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