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Helms Ategeka Gets Accepted Into 122 Colleges & Earns $5.3 Million In Scholarships

Helms Ategeka, an aspiring pop star from Oakland, California, faced initial disapproval from his father about pursuing a music career. Instead, he applied to over 150 colleges and received 122 acceptance letters with $5.3 million in scholarships. His father, Chris Ategeka, initially hoped Helms would choose a stable career but was impressed by Helms' 3.94 GPA and determination.

“He’s so confident that music is what he wants to do, it would be a disservice for me to try to guide him otherwise … that’s why he applied to a gazillion colleges to prove a point,” Ategeka says. “I told him, ‘You want to be a musician? It takes a lot of hard work.’ And his reaction was, I’ll use my determination to do this to show you how hard I can work.”

Helms' passion for music is evident through his involvement in a cappella groups and a room filled with CDs of his favorite artists. His key criterion for college was a strong music program, leading him to apply extensively. Despite rejections from a few top schools, he received numerous offers from universities across the country.

“I gave it my all with the application process. I reached out to the schools to make sure that they’ve received my application and made sure I gave my essays my best shot. But I did not expect so many schools to say yes, so I was not prepared,” Helms says.

Helms moved to the US from Uganda in 2019, just before the pandemic, which affected his adaptation. Despite this, he excelled academically and passionately pursued music. His determination and empathy impressed his teachers, contributing to his many acceptances.

After thorough research, Helms chose UC Berkeley, his father's alma mater, for its strong music programs and proximity to home. His decision reflects his commitment to music, backed by his father's eventual support. As an immigrant, Helms represents the growing diversity in US higher education, and is eager to start his journey toward becoming a professional musician at a prestigious university.

Link: CNN


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