Belfast Telegraph

Home News Education

Boy genius rejected by Cambridge despite string of A* grades to study at Obama's alma mater after gaining place at elite US college Harvard

By Amanda Ferguson

He is following in the footsteps of Barack Obama and Theodore Roosevelt.

A Portstewart schoolboy with an astonishing exam success record has won a place at the prestigious Harvard University in the US.

The Ivy League establishment, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, celebrated its 375th anniversary in 2011 and is the oldest institution of higher learning in America.

Constantin Arnscheidt (18), one of Dalriada School's most gifted upper sixth pupils, will join its ranks this autumn for four years on a coveted scholarship.

Despite a string of A* qualifications to his name – and predicted A* grades in A-level Chemistry, Physics, Computing and Music – it hasn't been plain sailing for the exceptional 18-year-old, as he was earlier rejected by the University of Cambridge.

"It made the decision a lot easier," said the keen cello and piano player, who moved to Northern Ireland from Germany when he was eight.

"I am looking forward to everything about university life." Constantin can study a variety of classes in his first year at Harvard before deciding on a speciality.

"You can just go and pick a range of courses in your first year," he said. "I think I might end up studying Physics."

Constantin's family, plus the staff and pupils at Dalriada, are thrilled with the good news about his US university place, and that for the first time the Ballymoney school will be noted in the Harvard Freshman Register – a hardcover book containing information on incoming students subsequently stored in the university archive.

"They are all very happy for me," he said.

Claire Kelly, head of careers at Dalriada, said: "We are immensely proud of Constantin, who is one of the brightest and most industrious pupils we have ever taught.

"We wish him well and look forward to hearing about his experiences."

Constantin and his family would like to thank his teachers at Dalriada for helping with his application to Harvard and would also like to pay tribute to Philip Reid, principal of Mill Strand Integrated Primary School in Portrush, who nurtured Constantin's abilities from an early stage.

"I owe a lot to my teachers and my family," Constantin said.


At 11 years old, Constantin gained an A* in GCSE Mathematics. He got A* grades in GCSE German and Additional Maths in Year 8 at Dalriada School, gaining the top mark in Northern Ireland in GCSE German. He was awarded A* grades in A2 Maths and German before he was 15 years old and is now on target to achieve A* grades in A-level Chemistry, Physics, Computing and Music.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph