12-Year-Old College Student Deemed 'Perfect Candidate' For Georgia Tech's Aerospace Engineering Program
The 12-year-old could perform sign language well at 9 months old and was able to fractions at 2 years old.
October 14, 2020 at 1:58 am
Caleb Anderson is like most 12-year-old boys, he likes toys, Netflix and is curious about outer space. But unlike most preteens, he is also a sophomore college student studying aerospace engineering.
Anderson is enrolled in classes at Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta, Georgia, and he’ll be able to earn his bachelor's degree within the next two years, according to USA Today. After graduation, he aims to continue his education at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology to position himself for an opportunity to intern for Elon Musk.
"I just grasp information quickly,” Caleb said. “So, if I learn quicker, then I get ahead faster."
The preteen college student is passionate about space exploration and sees his education as a vehicle to the stars and beyond.
“When I was like one, I always wanted to go to space," he said. "I figured that aerospace engineering would be the best path."
At traditional middle schools, Caleb has aced tests and coursework, because he’s already been exposed to and comprehends much of the material. His mother, a former teacher, said that she worried he wasn’t being challenged enough in the standard education for kids his age.
"I was getting my master's in education so I knew that there was something special about that," she said.
Claire told USA Today that the lack of adversity prevented him from reaching his full potential as a student and a person.
"I didn't like the character that was building in him," she said. "He didn't have any study skills, perseverance, grit. He didn’t ask for help."
The mom also revealed that Caleb has had trouble making friends at school due to his intellect. Caleb's father, Kobi Anderson, said his son has had problems communicating with his peers as early as three years old.
In first grade, Caleb said he remembers going to school and being much shorter than his classmates because he was two and could barely walk.
By middle school, he was picked on by classmates for his talents and his family thought it might not be the best place for him to learn.
"The kids there, they kind of looked down on me, they treated me like I was an anomaly," Caleb said. "And I kind of am."
While both parents have focused on helping develop the boy’s emotional and social wellbeing, Kobi, who works as an IT salesman, acknowledged that the 12-year-old was too advanced to receive help from them in the homework department.
"We can't do that. "He's already passed me in math,” Kobi said.
Claire says neither of Caleb’s parents are rocket scientists, but she believes it’s vital that they teach him about looking for the good in others.
Although college is a big adjustment, even with Kobi supervising the experience, Caleb said he enjoys the level of tolerance encouraged at higher institutions of learning.
"It's really accepting," he said. "People might think something about it, but they don't show it which is really nice."
Professor Mark Costello, the chair of Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering, told CBS News that Caleb is a perfect candidate to be successful in the aerospace program.
"I would expect that he would be admitted, for sure," he said.
While he’ll be spending a lot of time on college campuses in the near future, Caleb’s father said there are no plans for his son to participate in greek life. Instead, his mother hopes he builds the skills to become a great companion one day.
According to CBS News, the Andersons have two other children who are enrolled in gifted student programs at their school. Kobi said the secret to their success is raising the kid you have, not the kid you want.