Harvard-bound senior Leah Tadese looking forward to furthering her education

Senior Leah Tadese sports the sweatshirt of her future school, Harvard University. (Photo by Sydney Tyler)

While the Ivy League may not be for everyone, senior Leah Tadese had always believed it would be a perfect place for her. Ever since she was 7 years old, Tadese knew she wanted to go to Harvard. Her dreams became a reality in December when she received her acceptance letter.

Tadese explained that she didn’t actually consider applying until she did some research.

“It wasn’t until I researched it later that I realized they had exactly what I wanted,” Tadese said.

Tadese plans to be on the pre-med track as an undergraduate and attend their medical school to eventually become a cardiothoracic surgeon.

“I was ultimately thinking about the big picture, and Harvard would have the perfect progression for what I wanted to do,” Tadese added.

To prepare for a science pathway, she said that she spent a lot of time taking a wide variety of advanced science classes at the high school, as well as extending her knowledge to university courses and professional areas.

“Over the summer, I completed a virtual internship about the effect of COVID-19 on students’ mental health with Nationwide Children’s hospital, which helped show my interest in science,” Tadese said.

In addition to her rigorous class schedule, Tadese explained that she believes her selling factor was her application essay relating hippos to the country of Ethiopia.

“Just as a hippo is thought to be a vile creature, Ethiopia is thought to be a poor, uncivilized country,” Tadese said. “I wanted to explain that they are both misunderstood and they are not appreciated for what they actually are.”

Tadese added that it was very important to her to create a new meaning to her Ethiopian background, which she believed her essay helped her highlight. She believes her portrayal of Ethiopia in a new light helped her to stand out among other applicants, in addition to her letters of recommendation.

Tadese said that she valued the letters as a key part of her acceptance.

“I enjoyed reading them both a lot,¨ Tadese said. ¨I think they really shared who I was as a person and a student.”

She added that placing within the 98th percentile on the ACT and averaging A’s on her transcript throughout all four years of high school helped. Tadese scored a 32 on her ACT and maintained a 4.55 GPA.

Outside of the classroom, Tadese said she separated herself from her classmates by leading various clubs, like the Bexley Anti-Racism project, interning, and being an active member of the community.

“I have been a member of my church choir for 13 years, and being a leader there definitely helped show my dedication and leadership,” Tadese explained.

She said that is looking forward to visiting the campus for the first time this spring and continuing to broaden her knowledge by learning more about Ethiopian culture on a trip over the summer.

“I never thought I would get in, but I think it’s a major accomplishment and my family is very proud of me,” Tadese said. “I can’t wait to see what Harvard will be like.”