In the annual media blitz of Ivy League acceptance stories this spring, one tale stands out as particularly impressive. Four siblings—quadruplets, in fact—all applied to Harvard and Yale. And all got in.
Nick Wade, Zach Wade, Aaron Wade, and Nigel Wade secured their matching acceptance letters from the two universities, as well as a handful of others, by being in the top 10% of their graduating class at their Ohio high school, and by demonstrating a range of eclectic interests from music to neuroscience. They also used a careful, clever strategy: highlighting their relationships to one another and presenting themselves as a package deal.
The siblings are also black, which makes their achievement that much rarer; blacks make up less than 14% of Harvard’s class of 2020.
The quadruplets sent in college essays that, while showing off their distinct personalities, are meant to be read together. According to the New York Times (paywall), here’s how each of their essays began:
“Wade. Wade. Wade. Wade,” shouted my football coach as he called roll at breakneck speed. “Here,” we shouted in unison.
“Yes, Nigel?” the teacher said. I lowered my head and glanced back at Nigel’s vacant desk.
“Change your shirt,” I said. [He once showed up as breakfast wearing the same clothes as Aaron.]
0.00000125 percent. The chance that my mother would give birth to quadruplets. 100 percent. The chance that this woman striding towards me and my brothers was about to make me feel like the black sheep.
Equally unique to their birth is their story now. A portion of the Wade siblings’ sweeping admissions success can be attributed to their parents, a software engineer and a school principal, who met at a historically black university in Mississippi and raised their children to be ambitious and high-achieving. The brothers all applied to between 12 and 20 universities.
They haven’t made a final decision yet on where they will go—or decided whether they’ll all attend the same school—but they told the Times that Yale has so far offered the best financial aid and asked to fly them out for a campus tour, which they couldn’t afford to do before they were accepted.
Yet it’s also deja vu, times four; back in 2010, Yale and Harvard also both accepted (paywall) another set of black quadruplets. They all chose Yale.