|Chicago high school senior, Ariyana Davis was accepted into 23 Historically Black Colleges, gaining over $300,000 in scholarships|
During the past few weeks, black social media has done a great job of showcasing and sharing young African-American high achievement. One such high achiever is eighteen-year-old Ariyana Davis of Chicago, a young go-getter who was recently accepted into all 24 of the colleges to which she applied. Twenty-three of those schools were historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). CurlyNikki.com sat down for an exclusive interview with Ariyana.
Ever humble and gracious, the aspiring accountant credits her success to her parents.
“My parents were first generation college students and instilled in me the importance of seeking higher education and how it can lead to success,” says Davis. “Both of my parents have graduate degrees which were essential to their abilities to provide for me and my younger sister.”
Davis also notes the in-depth preparation she received at her high school Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School.
“My school prepared not only seniors but all grade levels by introducing and teaching them about what to expect when applying for college,” she explains. “Several times per semester, the college counselors gave presentations about scholarships and college applications to all students during their lunch periods which are called ‘Lunch and Learns.’ What I found most helpful about those presentations were the resources and assistance they provided for the students when it comes to applying for scholarships and studying the ACT.”
Davis, to date, has received over $300,000 in scholarships. Though she obviously had a score of colleges from which to choose, she has set her sights on attending Alcorn State University, an HBCU established since 1871 in Alcorn, Mississippi, where she received a scholarship which will cover the cost of her tuition, books, and room and board for four years. Davis did not make this decision lightly.
“When I think of Alcorn State University, I think of it as a small, rural, family-oriented, close-knit community that truly cares about each student’s education,” Davis explains. “In addition, I have also been accepted into the Honors Program which will provide me with more academic opportunities. I also have close family friends that have attended and are currently attending Alcorn.”
Distinguished alumni of Alcorn State University include civil rights activists and martyr Medgar Evers, activist and journalist Myrlie Evers-Williams, author Alex Haley, late actor Michael Clarke Duncan, and professional bodybuilding champion Iris Kyle.
If Davis had not have chosen Alcorn, it is highly likely that she would have opted for another HBCU.
“It was important for me to pick an institution that felt like home, especially with all of the racial tensions occurring in America. HBCUs provide an environment, especially for African-Americans to gather and bring together those with relatable interests and experiences. Many of the students and professors will look like me and will have travelled similar paths in life.”
Davis is also up for the uniquely challenging coursework Alcorn State University and HBCUs offer.
“These institutions provide a rigorous curriculum and a nurturing and comforting environment that is important to me as I enter into adulthood. I am confident that after completing my undergraduate degree, I will be able to successfully obtain a master’s degree at any college or university in the nation.”
And the accountant-to-be plans on fully capitalizing on her experience at Alcorn as she looks to her future as a Certified Public Accountant. Since her elementary school days, she has specifically focused on participating in those programs which have emphasized math, a subject at which she absolutely excels.
“My mother and father noticed my talent in math and suggested that I pursue a career in accounting and business,” shares Davis. “Since elementary school, I’ve participated in college programs that were geared toward early exposure in the accounting field.” The talented number-cruncher says that she is drawn to the problem-solving and analysis skills required in accounting as well as business ethics.”
“I am a proponent of ethical behavior in business,” Davis says. “It is imperative that the business community, nationally and internationally, embraces ethics and a commitment to social responsibility.”
As Davis prepares to forge ahead in her college and career pursuits, she has this bit of advice for other students interested in attending HBCUs.
“When applying to HBCUs, begin by researching those schools through Niche, Twitter, YouTube and other forms of social media in your high school freshmen year to see which school is right for you academically and financially. Study and take the ACT over and over again until you are satisfied with your score. You can take the ACT up to 12 times throughout high school. Use the Common Black College Application to apply to up to 50 colleges for just $35. Finally, do what you have to now so that you can do what you want to later.”
The Common Black College Application can be accessed at commonblackcollegeapp.com.
Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70’s era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.