Cassandra Hsiao, a first-generation immigrant from Malaysia, was recently admitted to attend all eight Ivy League schools.
"I opened them one after another, and they all were saying, 'Congratulations! Congratulations!' And I know that is something special," she told NBC Los Angeles.
In addition to a 4.67 GPA and active involvement in her California community, Hsiao's Common App essay about her struggle with the English language helped grab the schools' attention.
"In our house, there is beauty in the way we speak to each other," Hsiao wrote in the essay. "Language is not broken but rather, bursting with emotion. It is a little messy. But this is where we have made our home."
The 17 year old moved to California with her family when she was just five.
"Identity and the desire to belong are two of the most relatable struggles that people face. I wanted to share a slice of our home life, my relationship with my mother and both of our stories," she told BBC News.
In addition to her Ivy League acceptances, she has also received offers from Stanford University, New York University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University and University of Southern California, among others, according to NBC.
Hsiao has yet to make her decision, but told BBC News she will be touring the schools in the coming weeks.
A student-journalist in high school, Hsiao told ABC7 that she is considering a Storytelling Arts major.
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