Ronald Nelson
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Ronald Nelson is book-smart but also money-smart, with an eye for long-term thinking, it seems.

The high school senior was accepted to all eight Ivy League schools but opted to turn them all down, as well as other prestigious schools like Stanford and Johns Hopkins, to accept a full scholarship at the University of Alabama, Business Insider reports.

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Nelson said it took a lot of “soul-searching,” but ultimately he decided it was for the best.

The brilliant senior had a GPA of 4.58 and scored 2260 out of 2400 on the SAT, as well as a 34 out of 36 on his ACT. He also completed 15 Advanced Placement courses, so naturally he wasn’t short on college acceptances.

However, none of the Ivy League or other prestigious schools offered him any merit-based scholarships, and Nelson didn’t see them as being worth the financial strain, especially considering that he has plans to attend medical school afterward.

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“With people being in debt for years and years, it wasn’t a burden that Ronald wanted to take on, and it wasn’t a burden that we wanted to deal with for a number of years after undergraduate,” his father, Ronald Nelson Sr., explained. “We can put that money away and spend it on his medical school, or any other graduate school.”

And the soon-to-be University of Alabama student doesn’t think he’s missing out or that his decision will affect his chances of getting into another top school for medicine or other graduate program.

“Any undergraduate school can prepare you for a graduate program. It’s just determined on how much work you’re willing to put in,” the talented senior opined.

Plus, he was very inspired by UA, where he will take part in the “Fellow’s Experience.” He’s gotten the chance to meet other students with whom he’ll study for the next four years and is very happy with the company he will be keeping.  

“It was kind of amazing being around so many like-minded students, which is why I think I’ll be able to have a similar situation [to an Ivy League school], considering the type of students they’re attracting,” Nelson said.

Also, in addition to the scholarship covering his tuition costs, through the fellows program and his National Merit scholarship, Nelson will also be receiving stipends to cover other campus costs and maybe even study abroad, Business Insider reports.

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“I’ve had a lot of people questioning me, ‘Why are you doing this?’ but after I explain my circumstances, they definitely understand where I’m coming from,” Nelson said of those who questioned his decision to turn down going to a more prestigious school.

“The Ivy League experience would certainly be something amazing, to make these connections, and have these amazing professors,” he added. “But I really do think I’ll be able to make the same experience for myself at the college I chose.”

Read more at Business Insider.