6 Incredibly Young College Graduates

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Flickr user Lori Page

Many students who enter college may feel that they are too young and unprepared for the journey that lay ahead. The academic rigor can be intimidating. Parents wonder how their child will handle having so much autonomy over their schedule. Choices that will impact your future are many. How is an eighteen year old supposed to handle it? Well, if you think eighteen is awful young to be faced with the challenge of college, consider doing it at eight years old. You read that correctly. The youngest college graduate ever enrolled at age eight, graduated with his bachelor’s degree at ten, and his master’s at fourteen. We have rounded up some of the youngest, most unique college graduates.

Michael Kearney 

Age at Graduation: 10

Michael Kearney holds the Guinness World Book Record for being the youngest college graduate ever. He was born in Honolulu, HI, and homeschooled by his mother. He was diagnosed with ADHD, but that didn’t hold this child prodigy back. Kearney began to read at 10 months old and finished his high school education in one year. He holds a bachelor’s degree and two master’s. Describing his education, Kearney stated, “Most people, they get into school when they’re 6, and they get out of school around 22, 23…. I just happened to be in college that entire time.” Kearney’s college route may have been nontraditional, but certainly successful.

Moshe Kai Cavalin

Age at Graduation: 11

Moshe Cavalin received his associate’s degree at age seven. Moshe later enrolled at UCLA. He initially wanted to study astrophysics, but realized he had a passion for computer science. He hopes to open his own cybersecurity company one day. Employed at NASA, Cavalin maintains a humble attitude. He does not like to be called a genius and accredits his success to, “parenting and motivation and inspiration.”

Alia Sabur

Age at Graduation: 10

Alia Sabur’s parents knew she was special from a very young age. At an impressive eight months old, she began to read. She began elementary school as most children would, but in fourth grade her talents were recognized. She went immediately from elementary to Stony Brook University. Sabur studied mathematics as an undergraduate and currently holds a PhD in material sciences engineering. She began the world’s youngest professor at age 18 at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea.

Gregory Smith

Age at Graduation: 13

Gregory Smith took a rapid approach to his education. In just one year, he completed his elementary education. In two years, he was a high school graduate. Smith is thankful for the fame he received because it gave him a voice to advocate for causes he cares about, like children’s rights. He works as a postdoctoral researcher and working to create better treatments and drugs. Smith is clearly using his gift to promote good in the world.

Kathleen Holtz

Age at Graduation: 15

Kathleen Holtz is definitely a bright student. At age ten, she began college at California State. One degree was of course not enough for her began law school at UCLA at 15- not even old enough to drive. In 2007, she made headlines when she passed the notoriously difficult California bar exam to became the youngest California practicing lawyer at age 18. Holtz is enjoying a successful career as a lawyer.

Sho Yano

Age at Graduation: 12

Shoe Yano has one of the highest IQ’s in the world, at an impressive 200. That isn’t his only impressive test score, though. Completing homeschooling at 8, he decided to enter college. Sho score 1500 out of 1600 on the SAT. He attended Loyola University Chicago and began his rigorous course. He a dream of becoming a doctor. At 11 years old, many medical schools worried he was too young to face the challenge. The University of Chicago thought otherwise. They saw his potential and chose not to penalize him for his age. At 21, he was awarded his MD. His interest is in specializing in pediatric neurology.

These young college graduates certainly proved that age doesn’t have to hold you back. While many of them faced scrutiny, they pursued their dreams and achieved them. Even if you weren’t reading before your first birthday, graduating college before driving, or breaking world records, you can learn a lesson from them. Pursue your dream. Don’t let anyone hold you back from what you want. These child prodigies prove that with the right motivation, anything is possible.

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