16-Year-Old Turns Down Ivy League Offers To Attend FAMU: ‘I Wanted The HBCU Experience’
The 16-year-old high school graduate received a total of $1.6 billion in scholarships.
May 12, 2021 at 5:23 pm
A 16-year-old high school graduate has chosen to attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in the fall after being accepted to 14 universities, including several Ivy Leagues.
Curtis Lawrence III, who received $1.6 million dollars in scholarships, decided to further his education at an HBCU. He announced the decision in a social media post, the Atlanta Black Star reported.
“First I started thinking about what schools had good biology programs,” Lawrence told Fox 5. “Then I started looking specifically at HBCUs because I wanted the HBCU experience and to be surrounded by the people who are just like me and who are not only Black but academically talented.”
The future rattler said he was accepted to George Washington University, University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, Harvard and Yale, HBCU News reported.
Among other historically Black institutions, including FAMU, the Washington D.C. native received admission to Howard University, North Carolina A&T, Morehouse College, Hampton University and Morgan State University.
According to FAMU News, Lawrence was recruited by the university's vice president of student affairs, William E. Hudson Jr., Ph.D. One of his school’s vice principals at School Without Walls is also a FAMU alum.
“FAMU is very fortunate to have students of the caliber of Curtis Lawrence III confirming attendance,” Hudson said. “We always seek the best and brightest talent globally and he fits the mold of the distinguished FAMU Alumni. We pride ourselves in producing successful students who meet the global workforce needs. I look forward to welcoming the Lawrence family to the Rattler FAMUly.”
Hudson is now coaching Lawrence’s brother, Corey, to help him walk the same path.
Lawrence’s mother, Marlene Lawrence, said her son’s path to attend college early started when he was in the seventh grade with an interest in college prep. At just 14 years old, he began taking college classes at Georgetown University. He was one of their youngest full-time students at the time.
His ultimate goal is to earn a Ph.D. and to do that, his parents have helped him work to get through the necessary steps.
“We’ve taught them from an early age that education is key to open up the opportunities and to have access to things that they want in life," the teen's father, Curtis Lawrence II, said. “Since they were born pretty much we’ve done that and given them those experiences and those words, that they know the importance of education.”
Lawrence II said he’s proud of his son’s achievements.
“I am giddy inside knowing that all of these colleges and universities are after him and want him to be a part of their college experience,” he said.
The 16-year-old's experience is unique as it comes during a time when HBCUs have struggled with a decline in attendance since 2018, according to a study by the National Center for Educational Statistics.
The high school graduate, however, said he’s glad the wait is finally over.
“I am very excited,” he said of finally reaching the end of the long application process. “It has been a very wild trip, I guess I can say, applying to all of these colleges, and then waiting very anxiously for decisions. So now that it’s all over and I’ve been accepted, I’m very, very happy.”
At FAMU, the high-achieving student plans to double major in biology and computer science, The Washington Informer reported.