A 20-year-old student in the Philippines recently made headlines after claiming on social media that he had been accepted into 30 different universities in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Julian Martir, the son of a tricycle (public transportation in the Philippines) driver and vendor, initially earned praise for claiming that he was able to obtain scholarship grants totaling approximately 106 million Philippine pesos (approximately $1.9 million).
Martir’s announcement garnered significant attention, with news outlets and online platforms sharing his story.
However, doubts began to emerge when Martir faced scrutiny during a recent news interview in which he appeared to struggle in providing clear explanations for his chosen academic path.
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His alma mater, Negros Occidental High School (NOHS), also released a statement noting that they are still trying to verify Martir’s claims due to a lack of “first-hand information.”
Martir was subsequently subjected to criticism on social media, with some online users resorting to online bullying and branding him as a fraud.
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In a recent interview with News5, Martir stood by his claims, university applications and scholarships, asserting their authenticity.
Martir also shed more light on his application process, which involved submitting them all online after taking a gap year to prepare.
“I hope everyone will stop accusing me, or kung ano-ano man yung sinasabi ng mga ibang tao (or whatever it is that other people are saying about me),” Martir stated. “Just to make my statement clear din po, all of the universities I applied to are true po” (I genuinely applied to all of those universities).”
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Addressing the universities’ responses to his applications, Martir asserted, “totoo po yung 30 universities na inapplyan ko po. Kahit na i-email niyo sila ng paulit-ulit, they will give you the same response na ni-review talaga ang application ko with scholarships (It’s true that I applied to 30 universities. Even if you email them again and again, they will just give you the same response that they have reviewed my application for the scholarships).”
Another news outlet reached out to the 30 universities he named to verify Martir’s claim.
Eight of the 10 universities that responded confirmed his admission, with five of them confirming the scholarship offers. Among the universities that reportedly confirmed his acceptance were Ohio Wesleyan University, Alfred University, Woodbury University, Webster University, Ball State University, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Michigan Technological University and the University of Massachusetts Boston.
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Twitter user Ewemiz Insigne, a Filipino student on a full scholarship at Colby College in Maine, also came to Martir’s defense, noting that it is possible that the student had not been lying about his acceptance letters.
“The list below are schools Julian was accepted to. These are some of the most common ‘safety schools’ international students apply to as they have high acceptance rates, and tend to be generous with merit scholarships,” she explained.
She also explained that since scholarships from different schools cannot be combined, Martir will still face financial challenges should he choose to pursue his studies abroad.
“Applying to colleges abroad is somehow both easier and harder than people think. It is a complex process that requires a lot of privilege, time, and money, but it is also a lot more accessible than the majority of the public believes,” she wrote.