Getting accepted into an Ivy League college has never been easy, but the pandemic has made it even tougher.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Ivies’ acceptance rate plunged to an all time low at schools like Harvard and Columbia. That makes the story of two New Jersey students, best friends and first generation college students, who got accepted into multiple exclusive schools, even cooler.

As reported by News 12 New Jersey, Clifton High School seniors Ashley Hernandez and Mariam Mufleh have been best friends since the sixth grade. Recently, they each learned that they had been accepted into a number of top-flight schools.

According to 6 ABC Philadelphia, Hernandez is planning a career in political science and was accepted into Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Johns Hopkins, Northeastern Honors College, Vanderbilt, Williams, Swarthmore, Middlebury, Case Western Reserve, Rutgers New-Brunswick Honors College, Rutgers Newark, and Montclair State University. She is currently on the waitlist at Princeton and Columbia.

Mufleh wants to study physics pre-med and has been accepted into Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Vanderbilt University, Wesleyan University, Williams College, Rutgers University, and Montclair State University.

Neither young woman has reached a final decision on what school to attend, but even if their paths diverge, they told 6 ABC that they plan on remaining best friends. They also both credit their families with their success.

Another one of New Jersey’s best and brightest, Fair Lawn High School senior Hakim Oluwatamilore Kabiawu, was accepted to multiple Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Dartmouth; he also got in at MIT and other schools.

The pandemic resulted in a record number of applicants vying for the same number of slots at the prestigious schools, which in turn, resulted in record low acceptance rates; here are a few:

  • 3.4%

    Harvard

  • 3.7%

    Columbia

  • 4%

    Princeton

  • 4.6%

    Yale

  • 5.4%

    Brown

  • 5.7%

    University of Pennsylvania

  • 6.2%

    Dartmouth