Merewether High student offered places at University of Oxford and Stanford University

Support: Rizina Yadav thanked teachers Tony Southward, Mrs Burnett and Mrs Davidge, Cancer Council's Shayne Connell and Lions' Pam Bennett. Picture: Simone De Peak
Support: Rizina Yadav thanked teachers Tony Southward, Mrs Burnett and Mrs Davidge, Cancer Council's Shayne Connell and Lions' Pam Bennett. Picture: Simone De Peak

RIZINA Yadav is facing one of the most difficult but exciting decisions of her life.

The former Merewether High student is deliberating between studying law at the University of Oxford or Stanford University, after she received offers from both.

“I have no idea which one I’m going to choose,” Ms Yadav, 18, said. “They’re both great institutions and there are good opportunities at both places. I was just hoping I’d be lucky enough to get into one place – that would be the decision made.”

But that’s not all. Ms Yadav had an interview for Yale last week and will sit for interviews with Harvard this week and Princeton next week. “My reasons for applying really came from a desire for great peers, great professors and wonderful opportunities,” she said. “I want to meet people from very different backgrounds and grow as a person.”

Ms Yadav said she only decided to pursue law in the past two years, after her involvement in debating, public speaking and Legal Studies. “I am interested in human rights law and having some sort of broader societal impact.” 

She said her two hours of study each day last year grew to five hours during the holidays before exams. “I thought if I do this for one year – which seemed like it was going on forever – there will be so many opportunities available, if I just put in the hard yards now.”

Ms Yadav sat the Law National Aptitude Test and submitted her application for Oxford on October 15, three days before the start of Higher School Certificate written exams. She flew to England for interviews from December 6 to 8.  Ms Yadav received an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank of 99.80 a few days later. She received her offer on January 10 and if she accepts, will start in October. “I was hitting refresh on my computer every five seconds and when I heard that ‘ding!’ I was very happy – all my hard work had paid off and it was a nice feeling,” she said.

Ms Yadav also endured an “exhaustive” application process for Stanford and sat the SAT test in December. She received an early offer on February 17, two days before her scheduled interview.

“They only offer it to 10 to 20 students out of 45,000 applicants and I had no idea they even did this,” she said. “I thought it was a scam, that this couldn’t be real. My sister and I danced around the house.” Ms Yadav has been invited to visit Stanford from April 26 to 28 and if she accepts, will start in September.

“If you have talent and try and apply yourself and put yourself out there, you can do well. The idea you have to come from a high socio-economic bracket, top tier grammar school or have legacy parents is just not true.”