12-year-old genius on soaring through college: “I just grasp information quickly”

Whip-smart kids apply every year to Georgia Tech. But no one like Caleb Anderson. He’s 12 years old.

“I’m not really smart,” he told correspondent Mark Strassmann. “I just grasp information quickly. So, if I learn quicker, then I get ahead faster.”

This elite engineering school fell over itself recruiting him. Caleb saw the labs, and met the school’s president, Ángel Cabrera.  

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At age 2, Caleb Anderson could do fractions; today, at 12, the young prodigy is preparing to study aerospace engineering.

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Professor Mark Costello, chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering, told Strassmann, “He’s a perfect candidate to come into our program and be very successful.”

“Is his admission guaranteed?” Strassmann asked.

“I would expect that he would be admitted, for sure,” he replied.

Strassmann asked Caleb’s parents, Claire and Kobi Anderson, “What’s it like to be touring a college when your kid is 12?”

“I don’t think anything Caleb has done has been normal for us,” said Claire.

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Caleb Anderson.

CBS News


Caleb knew sign language by nine months. At age one, he was reading. At age two, he knew how to do fractions. 

Caleb said, “I have this distinct memory of going to a first grade class and learning there, and everyone was way taller than me, because, you know, I was two. I could barely walk!”

Middle school was awful. “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.”

He’s been studying aerospace engineering for a year at Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta, Ga. If he stayed there, he’d be on track to graduate in two years. But his parents want a university that’s the right fit for a tween genius. 

Claire said, “We want him to be in an environment where he is accepted and not tolerated.”

Strassmann asked, “If he comes to Georgia Tech, he’s not rushing a fraternity?”

“No! We’re definitely protecting him,” Kobi laughed.

His mother Claire added that their hopes for Caleb go far beyond grades, “to make sure that when he is an adult, he’ll make a great husband, a great father, a great friend one day.”

Lots of people think they’re the smartest person in the room. Caleb really is.

Strassmann asked, “Does it ever occur to you, you know, ‘I’m looking at college and I’m 12 years old!?”

Caleb replied, “This is my life. This is how I am. And I’ve been living this way my whole life.”

He accepts that he is different … and definitely smart. 

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