Youngest People to Graduate College Ever

10 Youngest People to Graduate College Ever

Child prodigies are always in the news for their accomplishments, especially when graduating from college while they’re still children. The youngest kids on this list graduated from college several years before they hit their teens. The others earned their degrees in their early teen years. All of them went on to earn numerous degrees. The child prodigies on this list that are now adults have successful careers as doctors, professors, and lawyers. The others who are still children have plans to continue their education and pursue work that addresses the world’s greatest issues.

10. Kathleen Holtz (c.1989 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 15 years old
Graduation Year: c. 2004
School: California State University, Los Angeles
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy

Kathleen Holtzphoto source: wackylaw.blogspot.com

In 2007, when Kathleen Holtz was 18 years old, she made headlines after she passed California’s bar exam to become the youngest lawyer in the country. Holtz started college when she was just 10 years old and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from California State University. She then entered UCLA School of Law when she was 15 and graduated three years later.

While awaiting her bar exam results, Holtz was already working as a first-year associate at TroyGould in Los Angeles. The firm had recruited her when she was only 17 years old.

Did You Know?

Kathleen Holtz tried to hide her age while attending law school and she got away with it for awhile because she looked as old as some of her peers. However, her classmates learned how young she was and unfortunately, turned on her and became hostile.


9. Erik Demaine (February 28, 1981 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 14 years old
Graduation Year: 1995
School: Dalhousie University
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy

photo source: wackylaw.blogspot.com


Like the other child prodigies on this list who are now adults, Erik Demaine has continued to be successful later in his life. Demaine, who was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, was home-schooled until he decided to enter university when he was 12 years old. Despite not having an academic record, because his father home-schooled him while they traveled across North America, Demaine was accepted into Dalhousie University. When he was 14, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the university.

Demaine continued his education and completed his PhD at the University of Waterloo by the time he was 20 years old. After earning his PhD, Demaine joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), becoming the youngest professor in the school’s history. Demaine continues to teach at MIT and has earned several awards and honors for his continued research.

Did You Know?

When he was 22 in 2003, Erik Demaine was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as the “genius” grant. Demaine is one of the youngest recipients of the grant ever.


8. Carson Huey-You (July 2002 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 14 years old
Graduation Year: 2017
School: Texas Christian University
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Physics

Carson Huey-Youphoto source: fwtx.com

On May 13, 2017, Carson Huey-You became the youngest person to graduate from college in the state of Texas. Huey-You earned a bachelor’s degree in physics with a double minor in Mandarin Chinese and mathematics at the age of 14, from Texas Christian University. Two years later, Huey-You earned his master’s degree in physics from TCU. Huey-You is currently in graduate school seeking a Doctor of Philosophy focused on quantum physics.

Huey-You’s, younger brother Cannan is also a child prodigy. Cannan is currently studying at Texas Christian University as a young teenager; he is pursuing a degree in astrophysics and engineering and would like to become an astronaut.

Did You Know?

Both Carson and Cannan Huey-You have been featured on television. In 2019, Cannan starred in MythBusters Jr., while Carson appeared as an advisor in two episodes.


7. Eugenie Carys de Silva (June 16, 1998 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 14 years old
Graduation Year: 2013
School: American Military University
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Intelligence Analysis

Eugenie Carys de Silvaphoto source: Manchester Evening News

Eugenie Carys de Silva, who is from Manchester, England, graduated from high school when she was 11 years old. After graduating high school, Carys de Silva began studying at American Military University. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Intelligence Analysis at the age of 14, and she is the youngest person to do so.

While Carys de Silva was working on her degree from American Military University, she began her graduate studies at the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education when she was just 13. Continuing her simultaneous education, Carys de Silva began her Ph.D. in Politics at the University of Leicester, England when she was 15. She became the UK’S Youngest Person to Read for a Ph.D. Academic Degree.

Did You Know?

Eugenie Carys de Silva founded the International Association of Child Prodigies to provide children an environment to pursue their educational goals.


6. Alia Sabur (February 22, 1989 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 14 years old
Graduation Year: 2003
School: Stony Brook University
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Mathematics

photo source: BBC

Child prodigy, Alia Sabur graduated from Stony Brook University when she was just 14 years old. Sabur graduated summa cum laude with a degree in applied mathematics. She continued her education at Drexel University, where she earned a a master’s in materials science and engineering by the time she was 17.

On 19 February 2008, at 18 years of age (3 days before her 19th birthday), Sabur was appointed to the position of International Professor as Research Liaison with Stony Brook University by the Dept. of Advanced Technology Fusion at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. Guinness Book of World Records named Sabur as the world’s youngest professor for this achievement.

Did You Know?

As a kid, Alia Sabur took up Taekwondo to protect herself against bullies (being a little girl in high school and college made her an easy target) and she ended up earning a black belt.


5. Gregory Robert Smith (June 9, 1989 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 13 years old
Graduation Year: 2003
School: Randolph-Macon College
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics

Gregory Robert Smithphoto source: Huffpost

 

Like many of the other young college graduates on this list, Gregory Robert Smith had shown signs of his intelligence at a very young age. Smith completed most of elementary school in one year and moved on to high school by the time he was seven. When he was 10, Smith enrolled in college where he studied advanced level physics, French and calculus. Smith graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the age of 13.

Three years after earning his bachelor’s degree, Smith received a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Virginia. He was 16 years old at the time. In his early 20s, Smith became a postdoctoral researcher at Mount Sinai where he studies stochastic gene expression. During his last interview from 2016, Smith said he hopes to develop better cancer treatments.

Did You Know?

In addition to his extensive studies, Gregory Robert Smith became an activist, advocating for children’s rights and safety. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times for his charity work.


4. Sho Yano (1990 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 12 years old
Graduation Year: 2003
School: Loyola University Chicago
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree

photo source: Chicago Tribune

Sho Yano earned his first degree when he was just 12 years old. After graduating summa cum laude from Loyola University Chicago, Yano entered the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine to continue his studies and work toward becoming a doctor. In 2009, when Yano was 18, he received a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and cell biology. Yano continued through medical school at the University of Chicago and graduated with his M.D. in 2012 when he was 21. Upon graduation, Yano became the second youngest M.D. in history, after Dr. Bala Ambati, who in 1995 completed his studies at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York at the age of 17.

During one of his last interviews from when he graduated with his M.D., Yano said that he wanted to become a doctor of pediatric neurology. He became interested in pediatric neurology while doing a rotation at LaRabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

Did You Know?

Sho Yano’s younger sister, Sayuri, is also a child prodigy. Sayuri graduated from Roosevelt University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in biology degree and went on to major in violin performance at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University.


3. Moshe Kai Cavalin (February 14, 1998 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 11 years old
Graduation Year: 2009
School: East Los Angeles Community College
Degree: Associate’s Degree in Mathematics

Moshe Kai Cavalinphoto source: ndtv.com

Moshe Kai Cavalin, who will be turning 24 on Valentine’s Day this year, is another child prodigy who earned his first degree before he was teenager. In 2009, Cavalin graduated from East Los Angeles Community College with an associate’s degree in mathematics when he was just 11 years old. Cavalin continued his education at UCLA, where he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the age of 15.

In 2015, Cavalin revealed that he was working at NASA. He was only 17 years old at the time. Cavaline was working to develop surveillance technology for airplanes and drones. Despite all of the accolades and accomplishments at such a young age, Cavalin insists that he isn’t a genius and he doesn’t like when people call him one.

Did You Know?

Outside of his schooling, Moshe Kai Cavalin is a martial arts champion and an author. By the time he was 17, Cavalin published two books.


2. Laurent Simons (December 26, 2009 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 11 years old
Graduation Year: 2021
School: University of Antwerp
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Phsyics

Laurent Simonsphoto source: Newsweek

When he was only nine years old, Laurent Simons made international headlines because he was on his way to unseating Michael Kearney as the youngest college graduate. His parents said that he was supposed to finish his degree before his 10th birthday. However, Eindhoven University said that this wouldn’t be possible because of the number of tests Simons needed to take. Upset by the news, Simons dropped out of Eindhoven. He then attended the University of Antwerp and earned a bachelor’s in physics in 2021 at the age of 11.

Upon graduating, Simons revealed that his next plan is to achieve immortality. Simons wants “to be able to replace as many body parts as possible with mechanical parts.” He plans to continue his studies to achieve this goal.

Did You Know?

Laurent Simons graduated with an 85 percent, a higher distinction than all other students in his graduating class.


1. Michael Kearney (January 18, 1984 – Present)

Age at Graduation: 10 years and 4 months
Graduation Year: 1994
School: The University of South Alabama
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology

Michael Kearneyphoto source: factrepublic.com

 

Michael Kearney earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 1994 at the age of 10 years and four months, making him the youngest person to graduate college ever. Kearney had always been a child prodigy. He graduated from high school when he was just six years old. After graduating college at 10, Kearney was thrust into the spotlight. He appeared on The Tonight Show, did countless interviews, and earned a Guinness World Record for his feat.

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Kearney went on to earn a master’s degree in chemistry at Middle Tennessee State University when he was 14. Four years later, he earned master’s degree in computer science at Vanderbilt University. Kearney is currently 38 years old and hasn’t been in the public eye in over a decade.

Did You Know?

Michael Kearney was a finalist on the trivia-and-puzzle game show Gold Rush in 2006 and he won the grand prize of $1 million.

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