This 14-year-old already has 2 university degrees

Story by CBC Kids News • Published 2019-07-09 09:00

Ontario teen did all of his school work online

While most 14-year-old kids are finishing up Grade 9, Kelton Kostis has walked across the stage to receive his latest academic achievement — a master’s degree.

This is his second university degree from Bellevue University in Nebraska.

The Sarnia, Ont., teenager first enrolled in post-secondary school at the age of nine.

Now Kelton holds two degrees: a bachelor’s degree in web technology and, just recently, a master’s degree in information systems management.

Kelton Kostis poses with parents George and Marla Kostis.

Kelton Kostis, 9, poses with his parents Marla Kostis and George Kostis after taking an exam to earn college credits. (Submitted by Kelton Kostis)

On being the youngest

While few teens his age have two degrees, Kelton says he’s a regular teen and enjoys swimming, reading and hanging out with friends.

“Aside from the obvious difference that I'm in university, I've never really felt that different to others,” he says.

But it does seem extraordinary.

“We serve students of all ages, but Kelton is definitely one of the youngest,” wrote Cris Hay-Merchant, Director of Strategic Communications at Bellevue University.

“He is the youngest to graduate since 2010 and likely one of the youngest graduates ever,” she added.

To put that into context, more than 57,000 students have graduated since the school opened in 1966.

Kelton working on laptops.

Kelton has advice for other kids finding it hard in the school system: ‘Find a personal passion and go after it outside of school and see where it takes you.’ (Submitted by Kelton Kostis)

On early education

Though Kelton says that he fits in with other kids his age, he discovered the elementary school system wasn’t much of a challenge for him and was, at times, holding him back.

While being home-schooled, he decided to take some university courses and “it went from there.”

When he applied for his degree program, he had set a personal goal to finish his master’s by the time he was 14.

Kelton at the graduation ceremony with his parents, George and Marla Kostis.

People are surprised and excited to discover Kelton’s age when he mentions his achievements. (Submitted by Kelton Kostis)

The challenges of working online

Kelton does all of his school work online and had never stepped foot on campus until his first graduation.

He says that his biggest challenges studying remotely was time management and group projects.

“Since my schedule was different from that of most of my classmates and I was able to work earlier in the week, I ran into situations where I had done my portion but others didn't have the time to do theirs yet.”

On the future

Kelton has decided to take time off from studying to look for a job in cybersecurity or another computer science-related field.

As for school? Nothing is concrete as of yet. But more school is not totally out of the question.

He may decide to go back and get another master’s, or even pursue a doctorate.

With files from CBC News Windsor

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