The St. Paul student faced with the choice of which of eight Ivy League schools to attend has made his decision.

Turns out, he's not going to any of them.

Alexander Roman, 17, a senior at Harding Senior High School on the city's East Side, was accepted by 20 US. colleges and universities earlier this year, but recently decided to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology because, he said, it was the best fit.

Alexander, whose father emigrated from Mexico as a teenager, said he will be the first in his family to graduate from college. He said both his parents were "really happy" he decided to go to MIT, even though it's not an Ivy League school.

"They kind of laughed at the beginning because I was like, 'Oh, I'm going to MIT,' " he said. "Then they said that they were proud that I didn't do what seemed like I was almost supposed to do."

Alexander said he visited several schools, including MIT, last month to weigh the pros and cons of each. He enrolled in a summer program at MIT last year and took a few calculus and physics courses.

"Subconsciously, I might have always been a little bit leaning toward [MIT]," he said, adding that he plans to major in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field, such as physics or environmental engineering.

Meanwhile, Munira Khalif, a senior at Mounds Park Academy in Maplewood who also was accepted into all of the Ivy League schools, announced this month that she will attend Harvard University to study political science.

Blair Emerson is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.