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Never too early.

It wasn’t grades or test scores that got eight-year-old Jordin Phipps accepted to college

Amy X. Wang
By Amy X. Wang


Here’s every parent’s dream: a college acceptance letter for their kid, totally unsolicited, magically landing at the doorstep.

Years ahead of time, no less.

Third-grade student Jordin Phipps spent less than a minute reciting her elementary school’s motivational mantra in a short video filmed by her mother last month. “Success is only moments away,” the eight-year-old adamantly chants, while wearing the t-shirt of her school: Watson Technology Center in Garland, Texas. “I will become a productive citizen in this world in which I live. I am smart. I am a leader.” Thanks to her spirit and energy, the video went viral—and Phipps scored an early spot at a university.

The University of North Texas, from which Phipps’ mother Nichole Smith graduated, reached out to the third grader and her family last week to extend extend a surprise early acceptance for Phipps to the college’s class of 2030. Also being offered by the school is a $10,000 leadership scholarship, which is usually reserved for high school seniors and transfer students. Said the university’s admissions director Rebecca Lothringer, “Her enthusiasm was felt far across our campus.”

Smith, who is a special education teacher, told ABC News that her daughter intends to accept the offer, and aspires to become a teacher just like her mother.

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