Student Is Admitted To Stanford With Essay That Simply Repeated “Black Lives Matter” 100 Times

Stanford_University_seal_2003.svgEvery student can recount the stress and work that went into their college essays.  Indeed, some people hire advisers on the preparation of these essays.  For Ziad Ahmed however repetition was the key.  Asked by Stanford University to respond to “What matters to you, and why?”, his answer was to repeat the expression #BlackLivesMatter” 100 times.  He got in.


The senior high school student from New Jersey is not African American.  The school was enthusiastic in its letter: “Everyone who received your application was inspired by your passion, determination, accomplishments, and heart . . . You are, quite simply, a fantastic match with Stanford. You will bring something original and extraordinary to our campus – a place where you can learn, grow, and thrive.”

Ahmed said that he was “stunned” to get in and there are probably a few less successful applicants that were a bit ticked by his approach to the essay.

The Bangladeshi-American has an impressive resume, which includes attending the White House Ramadan dinner and an internship for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.  He has also done a Ted Talk.

I guess however is that a slew of hashtag essays will rapidly lose its cache with Stanford.

70 thoughts on “Student Is Admitted To Stanford With Essay That Simply Repeated “Black Lives Matter” 100 Times”

  1. Ahmed was also accepted at Princeton and Yale. One of the keys to getting accepted at these schools is to make one’s application stand out and that he did.

    1. It would be grand if he submitted the same essay. Please. Please. Please.
      Keep the humor going!

  2. The college generation right now is quite possibly the dumbest in history.

    1. I think saying ‘possibly’ is being generous. Oh, I’m sure that there were other factors ommitted from the coverage (privilege, connections, etc.), but the fact remains, what some of us have believed for a long time becomes clearer and clearer: Ivy League institutions and education, as ever, are not synonomous with each other. It’s similtaneosly sad and hilarious the agony people put themselves through to garner approval for themselves or their kids that doesn’t matter one whit over the course of a life. Honestly, when you pass 40, no one is going to give a rat’s patootie where you went to school, and these days, 40 isn’t even middle-aged. We have created several generations of outsized babies. Those of us that actually matured throughout the course of our lives will be carrying them for the rest of our mature lives.

  3. We did not see the remainder of his qualifications here in the article. Maybe some applicants do not want to do an “essay”. Maybe some other item in his application documents proved he could “write”.
    Black Labradors Matter. That would get a dog in.
    Stanford is like the Ivy League schools who think their feces don’t stink. I would not hire someone from an Ivy League school — law school- in my law firm. We do jury trials. The jurors need to be impressed. They won’t be impressed by MSDS. Y’all know what that means. My Sh– Don’t Stink.

  4. I wonder if he shared this with his “college advisor” at Princeton Day before he submitted it. I would like to know that advisor’s thoughts because I just cannot imagine that the advisor would have said “Go for it! It’s amazing!”

  5. That he is an accomplished person is unquestionable. The ingenuity of the [control] [V] approach to writing answers is either remarkable or weak, depending on the subject matter as held by the reader.

  6. Is this worse than wealthy donor legacy admissions, or is it ok if nepotism is a kind of a factor in admission?

    1. His father is a former investment banker who now runs a hedge fund. His mother is an electrical engineer. He’s rich, attends a top prep school, and is a minority. That’s why Stanford wants him. He reminds me of a young Obama. His mother was a Ph.D anthropologist and his father a Harvard educated economist. So Harvard can admit a legacy candidate who is also a “minority,” and who, by virtue of his elite background, is virtually guaranteed to succeed.

      1. You mean a miniority like
        Native American Elizabeth Warren? Or a real minority?

        1. What is a “real” minority? Susan Rice? What percent of non-white blood is necessary to qualify? 5%, 10%? Who decides? Is 1% black a minority but 2% Native American is not? Should DNA tests be required, or should it be based on appearance?

          1. And BTW, did Malia Obama get admitted to Harvard because she’s black, or because she’s a triple-legacy (mother, father and grandfather all Harvard alums)? It starts getting a bit complicated when we now have so many minorities who are the sons and daughters of wealthy, Ivy educated black professionals, as well as highly successful immigrants. Should the Pakistani son of a millionaire hedge fund manager be admitted as a minority instead of a white kids whose father drives a UPS truck? From the point of view of the college, yes, because the former has the wealth and connections to become a politician or wealthy entrepreneur, hopefully furthering the school’s influence and endowment, whereas the working class white kid will likely graduate and get a middle class job, but that’s about it.

      2. His mother was awarded her doctoral degree 4 years after BO was admitted to law school and never held an academic position anywhere. (She worked for the Ford Foundation at one point). He spent a grand total of nine weeks in the same city as his father over the period running from 1961 to 1982. His father was employed by the Transport Ministry in Kenya, not in any academic position. The man never completed his dissertation and by some accounts Harvard ejected him from its graduate program in 1965, compelling his return to Kenya. Do you count as a ‘legacy’ if your father was expelled?

        1. ” Do you count as a ‘legacy’ if your father was expelled?”

          Well … How rich and influential is the father?

        2. So Obama’s mother only had a master’s in anthropology? How tragic! That definitely makes him an underprivileged minority. His father went to Harvard sponsored by the Kennedy Foundation. He left HU under unknown circumstances. He returned to Kenya and worked for the government and later died in a car accident. I used to think that to be an alumnus one must have graduated from the institution; however many colleges count as alums persons who merely attended. I was at a college for one year and then transferred to another, from which I graduated. The first college sends me their alumni magazines and junk which is annoying, because I don’t consider myself an alum.

  7. I gather from elsewhere he is also accepted at Princeton and Yale, presumably with more usual essays. I suspect he’ll go to Princeton University.

    1. I’m thinking Yale. He grew-up in Princeton and attends the prestigious Princeton Country Day School. It’s time to move away from home.

  8. Black Lives Matter does not satisfy the why portion of the essay. Who the hell grades these?

    1. Paul Schulte,…
      The Stanford. English Literature professors are said to give very high grades for students who type “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” hundreds of times.
      Also, Susan Rice actually graduated from Stanford.
      In addition to the admission of “Black Lives Matter ×100 student for his brilliant essay, Stanford seems determined to undermine the reputation it once had.

      1. tnash – well, Stanford has proved they cannot grade an essay properly.

  9. So Stanford admitted a student who was “stunned” to get in, and certainly isn’t all that keen on Stanford. It doesn’t sound as though he’ll accept, but if he does, Stanford deserves him.

  10. Could it possibly be that this guy has exhibited enough talent to get in, including the ability to write entrance level essays? Could it be that the point he made was that the essay was irrelevant in light of his overall abilities. Mosts of Turley’s posts are like this, designed to provoke without being fully illustrated.

    1. OK. This time I disagree with you. I like Turley’s posts or else I wouldn’t read them. They posts are generally advanced to expand a reader’s perspective.

    2. If someone fails to complete an essay because he felt he was so qualified it should not be required of him, should he be accepted to a prestigious university? What he wrote does not constitute an essay, and he failed to produce a single original thought.

      How is this fair to similarly qualified applicants who actually made an effort on their essay? Should this paper have earned a passing grade in an English Lit or any other class?

      1. Plus it appears that he didn’t care whether he got accepted or not. You do not write a phrase 100 times and pass it off as an essay to an institution you desperately want to attend.

  11. What is left to say. America has indeed made a fetish of this sort of .. person. From the Sailer site I learned he is a product of Princeton Day… and, this is hardly a guess, highly manipulative.

  12. Yep. This is what our country, and higher education has come to. I can’t wait to see his response if he gets mugged or carjacked by some blacks. With his attitude, he is very likely to end up a victim. Because he will not use common sense and will go places that are dangerous.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  13. Well you can’t accuse him of plagiarizing someone else’s essay.

    How did this become public knowledge?

    And where did this student get his secondary education?

    The sad fact is that many primary and secondary schools in the US don’t teach their students how to write properly. And a preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with.

    1. “And a preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with.”

      That is pedantic nonsense up with which I will not put.

  14. While the student may not be African American, he is named Ziad Ahmed. Right.

    I suppose that writing, DEATH TO AMERICA, one hundred times, would have garnered him a full, four-year, scholarship.

    1. Ah, the sounds I heard on Nightline in my youth….

      #MargBarShah! #MargBarÂmrikâ!

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