Eighteen-year-old Ja’Leaha Thornton of Belle Glade, FL has been accepted into 72 colleges and counting. And, the talented scholar shared advice for other students who are embarking upon their own application journeys on Good Morning America

Photo Credit: Ja’Leaha Thornton/Good Morning America

“Shoot beyond the sky, because it’s a world out there, and it has so much for us to explore, so don’t limit ourselves. Go beyond what’s in front of you and don’t take advantage of time. Use your resources and your opportunity,” she said in her interview with GMA


Thornton continued, “I know the process of applying could be kind of overwhelming to many, and instead of stressing myself out, I decided to make it a competition … and see how many I can actually get into. I wanted to broaden my horizons and explore some different schools outside of my state.”

The Florida senior began applying to 90 colleges and universities in early September 2021. Just how did the teen do it with so many applications and fees? Well, she utilized the Common Black College Application and the Common App to submit applications to multiple colleges simultaneously. These tools are unquestionably lifesavers for both parents of rising seniors and students alike.

Submitting college applications usually can cost anywhere from $25-$40 each application. However, Thornton was able to obtain fee waivers and spent “at most $20” to submit. 

“At most, I spent $20 because I did the Black Common App and also the Common App, and I was able to use my fee waivers,” she said. 

Photo Credit: Ja’Leaha Thornton/Good Morning America

So just which school did she say “yes” to? Well, the Glades Central Community High School will be headed to New Orleans, LA in the fall to attend Xavier University. 

Photo Credit: Ja’Leaha Thornton/Facebook/Good Morning America

She plans on majoring in pre-med psychology and minoring in chemistry, with the hopes of going to medical school after college. Thornton would like to pursue a career in forensic psychiatry in the future.

“At first, I was looking into becoming a child psychiatrist … but the more I looked into it, I became more interested in working with the people who have committed crimes and trying to get them back on the right track, studying their stories and seeing how we can apply that to life.”

Thornton will be her class valedictorian when she graduates in May.

Congratulations, Ja’Leaha! We have no doubt that the future is extremely bright for you. 

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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