A New Orleans high school senior has received $9 million in college scholarship offers, but is hoping to hit double digits by the end of the month.
Dennis Barnes, a senior at International High School of New Orleans, may have broken the Guinness World Record for most scholarship offers, after applying 200 colleges across the nation.
The impressive student has a GPA of 4.98 and is a leader in his school’s National Honor Society chapter.
In his spare time, he’s learned fluent Spanish, and has spent the last two years earning college credits at the Southern University of New Orleans.
“I submitted college applications in August, with an eye on raising the bar high for college admissions. Decision letters were an overflow in my mailbox and hundreds of scholarship offers,” Barnes told local news outlet WWL.
He was accepted to 125 schools in the fall, and hopes to reach $10 million in scholarship offers in his pursuit to double major in computer science and criminal justice after graduating high school on May 24.
Though the Guinness Book of World Records has yet to officially confirm it, he has beat the previous scholarship record, held by a Lafayette, Louisiana high school senior in 2019, by $300,000.
“The road to a successful future is to plan ahead, network with the collegiate partners, and know that If you can see your vision, you can achieve your goal,” Barnes advised seniors applying to colleges.
Atlanta high school senior Daya Brown, 18, who has been accepted to 54 colleges and received $1.3 million in scholarships said that standing out was the key to her success.
“Realistically, these schools have a hard acceptance rate. People from all over the world send in applications,” she told the Washington Post. “You want to do whatever you can to make yours stand out.”
“I have a great GPA, but I knew that my SAT scores weren’t going to be the best and I wouldn’t be at the level of many other kids who were applying,” Brown explained.
“Colleges love the uniqueness about applications,” she advised high school students.
“Sign up for those internships and go apply for that job. Go to that volunteer experience because they want to see who you are as a person.”
Brown was the student council president for all four years of her high school experience, and co-founded podcast “The Scholar Social,” before opening her own production company, Elom & Co., in 2021.
She spent three hours a day over a four month period applying to 70 different colleges and had more than a 77% acceptance rate.
“No, it wasn’t easy. Yes, you have to stay up many nights to get the work done,” Brown told Good Morning America.
“But at the same time, it wouldn’t feel like such a burden if it’s your passion. I wake up every day, happy about what I do.”
She has since committed to attending Duke University in North Carolina, where she plans to major in visual and media studies.