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SA student Eli Osei makes it into three Ivy League universities

Saint John’s College student, Eli Osei. Picture: Supplied

Saint John’s College student, Eli Osei. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 5, 2022


Saint John’s College student Eli Osei has secured admission to three Ivy League universities – Yale, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania – as well Stanford University and the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, the top-ranked American film school.

The eighteen-year-old from Johannesburg has built an impressive list of extracurricular activities and awards throughout his school career to ensure he stood out to Ivy League admissions counsellors.

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A creative at heart, Osei said he is looking forward to pursuing his passion for writing, African cinema, and creating art at one of the world’s top tertiary institutions.

“Waking up on Ivy Day, which is when all the Ivy League schools release their admissions decisions online, to find out that I’d been accepted to five of my top choices was an incredibly gratifying experience. It’s been a long journey, with a lot of work involved, but I’ve been surrounded by a group of people that have done everything to keep me going. The fact that it’s paid off is a testament to the continuous support of my family, friends, teachers, and mentors,” said Osei.

For a high school student with dreams of studying at a top university abroad, Osei’s portfolio provides a template for success. In 2020, he co-founded Ukuzibuza, an online platform that aims to provide a platform for young people’s thoughts, opinions and commentary.

“Everyone everywhere has something to say, but the youth are often silenced. Ukuzibuza, meaning "to ask oneself", is a youth publication website that I co-founded with my friends. It’s an archive of art and commentary that I hope to see grow for many years,” added Onsei.

A published writer and photographer, award-winning playwright, director, actor, editor, and keen debater, Osei has racked up an impressive number of national and international awards during his school career.

He is a columnist at The Milking Cat, a youth comedy magazine, and editor of his own film website, In 2021, Eli also founded Saint John's College’s Community Engagement Committee and served as head of the school’s sixth form.

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“Top American universities, like Yale and Princeton, look for students who demonstrate academic potential and are intellectually curious, passionate, and innovative. The volume and depth of Eli’s extracurriculars highlight his expertise and commitment to his areas of interest, as well as his impact on the community around him,” says Rebecca Pretorius, Country Manager at global mentorship company Crimson Education, who assisted Eli with his candidacy development and application process to his chosen universities, as well as navigating the funding options and requirements for his studies.

Once Eli decides on which university to attend, he’ll head to the United States for the 2022 academic year, which kicks off in August.

“My advice to other students wanting to study overseas is to remain hopeful and humble. The application process is as taxing as it is rewarding, so it’s important to both keep perspective and take care of oneself throughout it. Anything is possible, but nothing is particularly critical. It’s sappy, but the most important validation comes from within,” he said.

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