A pupil from Dubai has been accepted into 23 universities in the US and UK, including five Ivy League institutions.
Pritvik Sinhadc, 17, was also offered five scholarships at establishments in the US, with University of California, Berkeley awarding him a renewable Dh125,000 ($33,500) annual Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship.
The Dubai College pupil, who battled stage-four renal failure in 2020, was accepted by some of the most elite schools in the US, including Princeton, Columbia, Brown and Dartmouth universities.
With hopes of one day opening his own research institute, the teenager said the next hurdle would be deciding which offer to accept.
“I’d say my top-three choices are Caltech, Stanford and Princeton but I feel so humble and honoured to have been accepted to each and every university,” he said.
“I never expected to get into Caltech as the application process is extremely extensive and the school only accepts between 25 and 50 international students each year.
“In fact, friends and family urged me not to apply as they said it was a waste of time as it has such a tiny admissions rate.
“One person who really had faith in me was Mr Tate, a teacher at my school. He said ‘Dubai College might get its first Caltech student’ and that statement still rings in my ear, it gave me a boost of confidence.”
Throughout last month, Pritvik said he spent many anxious minutes opening admissions emails from universities to which he had spent tens of hours applying.
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And on March 12, in the middle of the night, his parents woke him up to check on the one acceptance he was sure he wouldn’t get.
“When I got the Caltech offer, I was just ecstatic,” he said.
“As I went to the computer to open the email I just held my breath in anticipation, then I saw that I had been accepted.
“My parents and I jumped around screaming.
“It was quite cool as I saw a picture of the Curiosity Rover and it said ‘Caltech is curious to know if you will accept its offer’.”
With a keen interest in physics and astrophysics, Pritvik received several scholarship offers including the one from UC Berkeley, a renewable stipend of $14,500 a year from Arizona State University and a President’s Scholarship from Imperial College London.
If he decides to go to Caltech, Stanford or Princeton he will have to fall back on Rise, a global education initiative that supports bright young people, to fund his degree.
Pritvik became a Rise global winner last year for his research project titled, ‘Network Theory Models of Mass Extinctions’. While recovering from a kidney transplant, he received news that he had been awarded a scholarship as a result of his win.
“Rise global winners can request for university funding to Rise on a needs-basis," he said.
"However, I am super clear that I will do everything in my power to earn extra financial support via paid internships, part-time jobs and other scholarships to pay for my tuition so I can save my Rise funding for my entrepreneurial and research ventures in the future.
“People ask me how I managed to get accepted at so many universities and my answer simply is, I followed my passion.
“Many people advised me that my application might be adversely affected since the US universities take in holistic students, meaning I would have had needed to play a sport or get into music, dance or theatre, but my passion was not holistic, it was pure research.
“My advice is just believe in yourself. I’m just excited for what is next.”
Congratulating Pritvik on his host of university acceptances, Jonathan Tate, deputy head of Sixth Form at Dubai College, said he was an "extraordinary young man whose intelligence and ambition do not compromise his warm and caring personality".
"As a result of the combination of Covid-19, Pritvik's transplant and the immunosuppressants he has been on since having it, he has been forced to work online, often from a hospital bed, for the majority of his Sixth Form experience at Dubai College," he said.
"He loves school and academic study is everything to him, not only in the pursuit of his A-Levels but also in the sheer quantity of research projects and academic involvement he pursues beyond school.
"Pritvik has received offers to study various courses related to Physics and Astrophysics from some of the best universities in the world.
"Based on what has been offered so far I know where I think he should go, but we are still waiting for further information from several institutions."