OAKLAND, Calif. - Standout Oakland student 18-year-old Ahmed Muhammad had his choice of universities to choose from, as he was accepted to all 11 colleges he applied to, including Harvard and Princeton.
But ultimately, the Oakland Technical High senior will remain in the Bay Area, as he's decided to go with his first choice "dream school."
On Monday, Muhammad appeared on KTVU’s "The Nine" and announced his decision on live television.
"You know it was a tough choice for sure. All of these schools I applied to, they're all amazing schools, but I decided that the best university for me for these next four years is Stanford University," the teen said.
It came down to the wire, with the enrollment deadline set for Monday. "Yesterday I woke up ready to commit to Harvard but at the end of the day, I went with my gut," Muhammad told KTVU anchor Mike Mibach, adding, "Stanford's always been a dream for me."
Muhammad’s extraordinary academic achievements will make him the first Black male valedictorian at his school. He’s finishing his four years at Tech with a cumulative 4.73-grade point average (on track for a 5.0 GPA for his senior year). He also received a score of 1540 on his SATs, with a perfect 800 in the Math section and a 740 in the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section.
Outside the classroom, Muhammad has been an accomplished athlete, a key member of the Bulldog’s varsity basketball team since his sophomore year.
KTVU has followed the teen’s journey and first featured him in a story last summer, not long after he launched a non-profit aimed at helping Oakland kids get hands-on access to science learning. His company, Kits Cubed, has since donated and distributed thousands of his science kits to Oakland schools.
Muhammad said he’s never shied from dreaming big as he credited much of his success to the support he’s received from his parents. "My parents did a good job of showing me that whatever dreams that are out there I can see myself accomplishing, then I can accomplish it, and there's a path to it," the teen said.
As for what’s ahead, the future Stanford Cardinal said he planned to focus his studies in the field of engineering. His plans also included continuing to invest in the community he loves, which it now appears will be easier for him to do from Palo Alto than all the way out east in Cambridge.
"I hope that I can create something to bring to the community that can help lift us... can add positivity to our environment, to our city, can create jobs, can create happiness for sure, and just better the outcomes of all the people in our city, of Oakland," the student said, adding, "I hope that I can leave Oakland better than how I found it. It's already an amazing place. I just want to play my part in contributing."
As the teen will no doubt continue to make his mark through this next chapter of his life, his advice to other young people seeking to achieve their dreams is to know that they have it within themselves to reach their goals, stick to the fundamentals, and work hard every day.
Muhammad also added, "You draw in on your community and the people you love, and you spread love throughout the world, good things will come your way for sure."