Daniel Bridgwater's determination to achieve his goals has paid off - he's going to Harvard.
The 18-year-old set his mind on earning a place at the Ivy League school since visiting his brothers at Yale two years ago.
Daniel finished at Tauranga Boys' College last year, earning Excellence endorsements in all three NCEA levels and a Scholarship in statistics. He was accepted into Harvard's early action intake in December.
Daniel has been rowing since his first year at the college and has competed at the national competition four times.
He said his sporting career helped sweeten his application.
"My brothers are at Yale so I knew to talk to the coaches to get in there. I started talking to them by email. It was more or less my gateway into Harvard. You still have to get in with grades, but the rowing helps because the coaches will put in a good word for you."
His rowing career also helped with his choice of university as Harvard offered training in singles and doubles, Daniel said.
"We visited my brothers at Yale two years ago and I toured Harvard then. I think it's really cool there but I haven't been in winter so I don't know what that's going to be like.
"I met up with the coaches when I was there and sat in on quite a few lectures. I think the campus is great ..."
At this stage, Daniel said he was looking at studying engineering but he had not yet made up his mind. He still had a few months to choose as he left for Massachusetts in August.
Daniel said his parents would cope with him leaving as they had already been through his two brothers going to Yale and his oldest brother moving to Australia.
Mother Kathryn Sharplin agreed. "I'm a mum so I will miss him, but it's a good adventure. I'm proud of all of my boys, obviously they are bright and hard workers."
Ms Sharplin said she would visit Daniel and bring him back once or twice.
In December, the Bay of Plenty Times published a story about Otumoetai College student Emma Dwight being accepted into Harvard. Emma was considering studying science at the prestigious university.
*Established in 1636.
*Based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts.
*Has an enrolment of more than 20,000.
*Has more than 360,000 alumni around the world.
*Was ranked second in the world in the Times Higher Education world university rankings for 2013/2014, equal with University of Oxford and below only California Institute of Technology.