Student gets into Stanford after writing #BlackLivesMatter on application 100 times

Ziad Ahmed: "I am many things, but I am an unapologetic progressive activist first and foremost."

Story highlights

  • Ziad Ahmed, 18, had a creative response to the essay question, "What matters to you and why?"
  • He says he is still deciding which school he will attend

(CNN)If you're applying to college, you can spend hours crafting the perfect admissions essay. Or you can just write the same word 100 times.

It worked for Ziad Ahmed.
The Princeton, New Jersey, high school senior was recently admitted to Stanford University after writing #BlackLivesMatter 100 times in response to the application question, "What matters to you and why?"
    Ahmed has been flooded with attention since posting his essay answer to Twitter on Saturday.
    "First, there was a word limit on the question prompt -- you couldn't have less than 100 words," he explained in an interview with CNN.
    "As I completed my application, my academic work, volunteer activity, extracurricular and activism created a picture, but it became apparent to me as I neared that final question that the picture lacked my voice," he added. "It was important that to me that the admissions officers literally hear my impatience for justice and the significance of this issue."
    Ahmed, 18, is a practicing Muslim and a self-described activist. He says much of his passion stems from him experiencing racism of his own.
    He says he decided to use the hashtag because it conveyed his frustrations with the judicial system's failure to protect the black community from violence, systemic inequity and political disenfranchisement.
    CNN reached out to Stanford to confirm Ahmed's story. A university spokesman said the school does not comment on student applications.