Elijah Muhammad, 12, is making history by becoming the youngest Black student to be accepted into college in Oklahoma.
The 12-year-old genius from Oklahoma City is anything but your typical pre-teen, he is currently a high school senior in Prep One Collegiate Academy, a homeschool program run by his father, Elijah Muhammad Sr.
“He’s graduating with his associate’s degree and his high school diploma at the same time, which will be next year,” said Elijah Muhammad Sr.
The younger Muhammad is following the footsteps of his older siblings, who were also home schooled and proving successful at a young age.
“His sister just made history as the youngest graduate from Langston University and Oklahoma Community College with two associate’s degrees on the same day,” Muhammad Sr. said of his daughter. Shania Muhammad previously held the title of the youngest person to enroll at Oklahoma City Community College at 13 years old.
Elijah has since broken his sister’s record after he was accepted into OCCC at 12 years old and began taking classes this past summer. His 17 composite ACT score beat out the average Black high school senior, which is 16, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Elijah has already received a full scholarship from Rust college, an HBCU in Mississippi.
“I’m very excited about getting scholarships because I’ve seen my sister get multiple scholarships and I was like, man, I can’t wait until I start getting my scholarships,” Elijah said.
Elijah Muhammad Sr. says he figured his son was gifted when he was 2 years old because of his early ability to community with his family. “He was very attentive, and there were things I noticed from when he was 2 years old that were just different, and I was like it’s time to cultivate this,” Elijah’s father said.
Young Elijah Muhammad breezed his way through his home school program, which his father says differs from traditional public education because the lessons are tailor to a student’s individual learning styles.
“We try to expose you to as many different types of learning and different types of learning styles. Some people are hands-on, some people learn by video, audio or reading, there are multiple methods, and I’m saying, why are we being told there’s only one way,” Muhammad Sr. said.
Despite 12 year old Elijah’s brilliance, he says he spends roughly the same amount of time studying and having fun as other children his age. While he enjoys running and playing coding games on his computer, he is also a three-time state champion wrestler and has time for a social life with friends.
“I don’t have problems making friends, I’m really sociable, it’s just, when I tell them, or they ask me, what’s going on, and I tell them, you can do the same thing if you take the time to focus and study on the things you really want to do,” Elijah said.
Elijah plans to study cyber security once in college. He developed an interest in cyber technology when one of his home computers kept crashing. “My dad was talking to me, and he said, it could be something like a cyber hack, and I was like, what’s that, so my dad then explained that to me, and then I wanted to learn of this so I can stop this from happening to my computer,” he said of his developed interest in cyber security.
Elijah is already on track for his future college degree, his father says, he has already obtained five different cyber security certifications in roughly three weeks, about three months sooner than expected. Elijah wants to attend an HBCU for his bachelor’s, masters and doctoral degrees, something that runs in his family.
“I heard Hampton does have a good cyber security program, but I’m just exploring my options right now,” Elijah Muhammad said.
His father echoed his son’s desires to be an HBCU graduate. “A hundred percent, he will be going to an HBCU walking in the legacy in his mom,” who recently earned her doctorate degree from Hampton University and currently serves as an assistant professor and director of operations at Langston University.
Oklahoma City Community College President Mautra Staley Jones, provided Atlanta Black Star a statement on Elijah Muhammad’s acceptance.
“Our students are coming to us with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, Jones said. “They are eager to take that next step into post-secondary learning opportunities, and we are thrilled that they choose Oklahoma City Community College to pursue their goals. Elijah’s academic journey is inspiring, and we are excited to help him achieve his educational goals. This institution is known for creating opportunities for non-traditional students, creating a unique mix of students of all ages — with our youngest being 12 when Elijah enrolled to our oldest students in their 70s.”
Elijah Muhammad Sr. says he is proud of his entire family which consists of three sons all bearing his name, two daughters and wife. He says other families can embark on a journey like his family by simply thinking outside the box when it comes to education.
“Definitely explore other options and even as a parent, even if you don’t have the time or the transportation, online schools is a real thing, it’s happening,” Muhammad Sr. said.
“You just got to be willing to think outside the box and don’t tell yourself there’s only one way to do the education thing,” he continued.
Twelve-year-old Elijah is expected to begin college next year, and at least for now he is undecided on which HBCU he plans to attend for his advanced degrees, but he says he is open to hearing from schools interested in recruiting him.