A university degree takes time to achieve, and most educational systems are designed in a way that graduation coincides with early adulthood. Exceptional cases have produced teen graduates with outstanding achievements. But when you find early teens earning degrees from regular universities, some of them at 11 years of age, then that can be something out of this world. An insight into the youngest people to graduate from universities gives us an idea of the factors that surround speedy education and genius abilities. 

What many people think to be an absolute function of talent could actually demand a lot more to achieve. The people listed below have left a mark in education, earning them various recognitions at a very early age. Now let us take a closer look at the youngest people to graduate from universities. 

8. Kathleen Holtz 

Kathleen Holtz is an American lawyer who holds the record of becoming the youngest individual to be called to the bar in the United States. This however was not her initial educational achievement, nor is it the first striking detail about her educational adventure.

Holtz, who was born in 1989, graduated from California State University, Los Angeles, with a Bachelor in Philosophy in 2003. At the time, she was just 15 years old. Her’s has been a very fast-paced learning adventure and career in general. 

With a hint of humour, during her call to the bar in 2007, Holtz was teased in the media for skipping bars with the aim of passing the bar instead. This was because she was still under the age of 18 at that time.

7. Gregory Smith

Gregory Smith who is considered to be a child genius, graduated from college when he was just 13 years old. Smith’s growth trajectory in terms of education and career is a clear example of extraordinary development.

It is on record that even as a toddler, Smith was already displaying his genius characteristics. At 14 months of age, he was solving math problems, and correcting adults’ grammer when he was just 2 years old.

Speed of development was clearly defined by Smith’s pace of elementary education. Achieving his 10 grades programme in a space of 3 years was record-breaking. At 10, Smith was already a college student, studying advanced level physics, French and Calculus.

At the age of 16, Smith earned a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Virginia. Among his other achievements are several nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

6. Alia Sabur

Alia Sabur is known as the world’s youngest individual to become a professor. As a toddler, an IQ test returned an “off the charts” result. She is indeed a certified genius.

Some of the exceptional achievements displayed by Sabur include the following:

  • Started reading at 8 months of age
  • Jumped from 4th grade to college
  • Earned a B.S. in Applied Mathematics summa cum laude from Stony Brook University at age 14
  • Earned an M.S. and Ph.D. (ABD) in Materials Science and Engineering from Drexel University.

At the age of 18, Sabur became a professor with Stony Brook University, a position that earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest person to become a professor.

5. Mikaela Fudolig

At the age of 16, Mikaela graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Philippines, Diliman. Mikaela’s educational trajectory was a quick one that generated a lot of attention. 

Due to Mikaela’s outstanding educational performance, she was pulled out of high school in her second year in to the experimental Early College Placement Program (ECPP). At 11 years old, she was already a student at the University of Philippines, Diliman.

One of the key points in Mikaela’s college education is that she didn’t need a high school diploma, neither did she take the UP College Admission Test before being admitted into the university. By 2014, Mikaela earned her PhD from the University of the Philippines, Diliman after obtaining a Master of Science degree in physics.

4. Moshe Kai Cavalin

Moshe Kai Cavalin is one of the youngest people to graduate from university. He graduated from community college at the age of 11, and four years afterwards, he had earned a second degree. This time, a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Everybody considers Cavalin to be a genius but himself. When asked if he was a genius, this is what he had to say:

“Genius is just a word, it’s like an IQ, it’s a number that’s created by people that only classify with one point, and they ignore everything else that makes the individual. I don’t like being called a genius and I don’t want to be a number,”.

This is a sentiment that was corroborated by his mathematics professor of two years at East Los Angeles College. He recognised Cavalin as a student that works very hard, singling him out as the most hard working among all the students he ever had.

3. Tanishq Abraham

Here is another graduate of the University of California who has great achieved things. Tanishq graduated from the American River College in Sacramento, California, at the age of 11. At 15, he had earned a degree in biomedical engineering from the University of California.

Tanishq is ambitious and hopes to one day become the President of the United States of America. At graduation, he achieved the highest educational honours within his level, the ‘summa cum laude’.

At the young age of 9, Tanishq delivered a TEDx talk where he made a statement that has become a popular quote today. He said:

People should go to university and college when they are ready, not when they are old enough to go.

2. Sho Yano

Sho Yano, who has grown to become a pediatric neurologist was a boy prodigy who achieved outstanding educational feats as a child. At age 9, Yano was admitted into Loyola University and graduated ‘summa cum laude’ at the age of 13.

He later pursued a career in medicine by attending one of the best medical schools around, the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

With an IQ of 200, Yano started reading at 2 and writing at 3. By the age of 5, Yano was already composing music. Yano was so young when he was enrolled in school that many schools rejected him. The claim for rejection was that they would be robbing him of his childhood.

Today, Yano is a resident pediatric neurologist. He was the youngest student ever to be awarded MD by the University of Chicago.

1. Micheal Kearney 

Michael Kearney is a child prodigy popular for the many records that he broke in relation to schooling at a very young age. Michael Kearny was born on 18 January 1984. His early days of studying took place at home, where he was taught by his mother.

Michael Kearney’s development as a child started very early. He said his first words at just 4 months old, and when he was 6 months of age, said to his pediatrician, “I have a left ear infection”.

Kearney was already reading when he was 10 months old. In 1990, at the age of 6, he graduated from San Marin High School in Novato, California, where he spent only one year. At the age of 10, Kearney graduated from the University which gave him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest university graduate ever.


Education is a fundamental aspect of human development. Most of the time, it is carried out in an organised manner through a generally accepted system. Exceptional cases like we have described above are usually very rare to come by. Imagine sitting in the same class with a 6 year old.

All of the youngest people to graduate from universities listed above have gone ahead to sustain their genius status, excelling in their careers as adults. Some of them have denied being geniuses, but a product of hard work. The only thing is that we understand that being a genius does not exempt you from working hard.

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