Sara Rehman, 18, lost several family members to coronavirus and her mother remained in Pakistan due to health issues, meaning she became the main carer for her father and younger sister.
The Sheffield High School for Girls pupil is now celebrating after her four A* grades at A Level secured her a place to study medicine at Cambridge.
Sara also won a coveted scholarship intended to support her during her time at university awarded to students at Girls' Day School Trust member schools.
The Frederica Lord Scholarship will fund her to take part in sports, social activities and travel to make the most of her time at Cambridge.
She joined the independent school at the age of 16 and was a founder member of its Medical Society.
Classmate Chelsea Bacon, 18, also won a GDST scholarship which will provide financial support while she completes a business management course at Newcastle University.
Chelsea's mother died during her A Level studies and she was forced to take a break from school, but later re-joined the sixth form and acheived grades of A*AA at A Level.
Both girls competed with pupils from 24 other girls' schools to win the scholarships.
Sara said: “I was delighted to hear I was nominated for the Frederica Lord Scholarship this year and even more delighted upon receiving it! Sheffield Girls' was very supportive throughout the process and I would like to thank both my head of year Dr Jane McGregor and the head of careers Carole Hall for helping me make the application.
“I am excited to use the scholarship to explore the social side of Cambridge University and intend to join the Languages Centre, debating and cycling clubs and the Medical Society - all great passions of mine.”
Chelsea added: “I will be studying at the University of Newcastle. Without the support of the school I do not think I would be where I am today as I’ve had a difficult few years. The careers service has also been invaluable in helping me to decide on my next steps in the future and in supporting me to apply for scholarships to make my time at university less worrying in a financial sense.”