Of those 18 schools, seven of them are Ivy League institutions, causing The New York Post to dub Zbylut, "A One-Man Ivy League." He applied to seven of the eight Ivies, leaving out Brown. I wonder, though, if you're going to apply to seven of them, why not go for 8-for-8?
TODAY Producer Sabrina Clay spoke to Lukasz in preparation for this morning's segment. Here's what he had to say:
Q: How does it feel to be wanted by so many top schools in the country?
Lukasz Zbylut: It feels great. I'm super excited and a bit confused. I really don't know why they would pick me, but I'm very grateful and extremely excited.
Q: You have a 104.7 grade point average. So why did you apply to so many schools? Why not just narrow it down to your top three choices?
LZ: Well, that isn't really true. Schools are so selective, there was no guarantee that I would get in to the school of my first choice, which was Harvard. I've always wanted to go to Harvard, but nothing is assured. The best thing to do was to apply to many schools and hope for the best.
Q: And what's so interesting is, you and your family just came to this country five years ago from Poland. Was it hard to make the transition to schools here?
LZ: It was easier than expected. Schools in Poland are very rigorous, as you can imagine, in all Eastern European countries. But everyone thinks all we do is study when in fact we spend a lot of time running around playing soccer. We practically had no homework. But, not knowing the language was hard, and learning a whole new system. When taking my first exam, I was constantly turning to the girl next to me, because in Poland it's very collaborative. Here, it's the opposite.
Q: You didn't speak any English [when you came to the U.S.]?
LZ: I knew "thank you" and profanities, but nothing else. It's always that way: you learn the bad words in a new language first. But learning the language is what you have to do here in America, so i did."
Q: There was one school that you applied to that didn't accept you, MIT. Were you disappointed or were you like, "Whatever, I've got these 18 other schools that said, 'Yes'"?
LZ: I was kind of crushed. It came in March and was the first and the only rejection letter I got. So, yes, I was crushed. But looking back at it they made the right choice.
Q: Why was it the right choice?
LZ: The school probably was not right for me. I wanted to take political classes and philosophy, so it may not have been the best fit. I hope they gave my spot to someone who wanted to learn more about engineering and physics. I hope the person who got my spot will be happy with it.
Q: What will you study at Harvard?
LZ: Government, political science courses, philosophy and law courses.
Q: Your family must be very proud of you.
LZ: It can best be described as a near-death experience. It literally almost caused heart attacks. They are very excited. My mother is calling all of our family back in Poland, everyone in our town in Poland got a copy of my acceptance letter, they know what I did. My sister is running around telling all of her friends. My head is so big right now. It is amazing. We are all very proud, everyone in the community.