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New Orleans senior shatters U.S. record with 125 college offers, $9 million in scholarships

Dennis Barnes' goal is to reach $10 million in offered scholarships by the end of the month.

NEW ORLEANS — Dennis Barnes, a senior at International High School of New Orleans, set a new national record by receiving offers from 125 colleges and universities totaling more than $9 million in scholarships — more than any other college-bound senior in U.S. history.                  

The school said that Barnes, a New Orleans native, applied to 200 schools across the country and plans to announce his college decision on May 2.

The number of offers Barnes received breaks the previous record documented in the Guinness Book of World Records, held by a Lafayette high school senior who received $8.7 million in scholarships in 2019. The school is contacting Guinness to make Barnes' new record official.

“I submitted college applications in August, with an eye on raising the bar high for college admissions. Decision letters were an overflow in my mailbox and hundreds of scholarship offers,” Barnes said.                             

IHSNO said that more decision responses are still coming in from other schools. His goal is to reach $10 million in offered scholarships by the end of the month.     

Barnes has maintained a cumulative grade point average of 4.98 at IHSNO and holds leadership positions in the National Honor Society. He is fluent in Spanish and received an official qualification from the Institute Cervantes on behalf of Spain's Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports. He was also recently awarded the Jose Luis Baños Award for Excellence in Spanish Language by Maria Page, Honorary Consul of Spain in New Orleans.                   

He plans on pursuing a dual undergraduate degree in computer science and criminal justice. He has been dual enrolled at Southern University of New Orleans for the past two years, earning college credits while pursuing his high school diploma. Barnes is set to graduate from IHSNO on May 24.                            

Dr. Adierah Berger, Head of School for IHSNO, praised Barnes for his dedication to academics and eagerness to help his peers. IHSNO said Barnes was motivated by college admissions counselor Denise James.            

Barnes' advice for seniors applying to colleges and scholarships is to be vigilant.

“The road to a successful future is to plan ahead, network with the collegiate partners, and know that If you can see your vision, you can achieve your goal," he said.

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