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ACC 16-Year-Old Headed to M.I.T., Credits Career & College Promise

Christian Williams

Christian Williams, 16, will transfer from ACC to MIT this fall.

Alamance Community College graduates have transferred over the years to UNC, Duke University–and yes–prestigious out-of-state universities. Now add The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT.

That’s where Christian Williams, a 16-year-old Elon resident who is enrolled in ACC’s Career and College Promise program, has been accepted for next fall’s freshman class.

Christian, a homeschooled student who has a 4.0 GPA at ACC, has taken higher mathematics and physics and will graduate this spring with an Associate in Science degree.

“Christian is a bright, attentive student. He is responsive and enthusiastic in class, and he has demonstrated a clear facility with difficult concepts and calculations. He is as close to a model student as I can imagine,” said Paul Carr, who teaches physics at ACC.

But Christian’s interest lies in mechanical engineering, which is the field of study he plans to follow at MIT. “I’m someone who wants to do different things and studying mechanical engineering will allow me to follow a variety of pathways in my career,” he said.

Christian’s academic future seemed to be in the cards, noticeable since he was a kindergarten student.

“He was developing engineering-like skills at a young age,” said his mother, Matrice. “Math always came easy for him. He often played with Legos, always built and tore them apart to see how they worked in different configurations.”

Despite touring Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Cornell, MIT was Christian’s dream school.

“I found that MIT is less traditional, more geeky and techy like me. And MIT is more engineering-focused,” he said. “MIT reached out to me to apply, and invited me to visit.”

Christian will attend an institution which in 2016 had more than 19,000 applications and only made 1,511 offers of admission, or 8 percent, according to the school’s website. Christian, whose SAT scores are in the 99th percentile, was among the 6-7 percent who received early admission status.  

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) focuses on educating students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and is well known for graduating many individuals who have proceeded to make their marks on the nation and the world.

And how did Alamance Community College fit into Christian’s academic plans?

Christian’s older sister, Mela, attended Alamance Community College via the free Career and College Promise (CCP) program—in which high school students can earn college credit simultaneously while they complete their high school diploma—and will graduate from UNC Chapel Hill this spring two years earlier than she would have.

“We thought CCP would also be a good fit for Christian because we had learned with our daughter how homeschoolers successfully incorporate ACC’s college classes,” said Matrice. “Furthermore, the CCP program benefits homeschoolers through exposure to larger peer groups who come from various backgrounds. And that introduction to people from different socio-economic groups and ages serves as a bridge to four-year universities.”

ACC’s Career and College Promise program proved to be an added asset for Christian when he first toured MIT.

“MIT wants to know who you are as a student and what makes you different,” said Matrice. “I firmly believe that Career and College Promise helped to distinguish Christian from other applicants because, not only did it show initiative on his part to challenge himself, but it also validated the grades he was earning as a homeschool student.”