News / USA

Child Prodigy Finds College Admittance Elusive

Tanishq Abraham is seen speaking at the NASA Lunar Science Forum at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
Tanishq Abraham is seen speaking at the NASA Lunar Science Forum at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
TEXT SIZE - +
He became a member of Mensa at age four. He gives talks at NASA. He’s homeschooled because regular class work doesn’t challenge him. Yet ironically, he cannot get into college as a full-time student.

That’s the predicament of Tanishq Abraham, a nine-year-old prodigy from Sacramento, California.

After several colleges turned him down because of his age, Tanishq and his parents began piecing together an education that includes homeschooling, spelling and science bees and, at last, some classes at American River College, a local community college.

“All of the classes are easy for me,” he said, chuckling. “I still read the books and materials they recommend so that I’m sure I know everything. I kind of do have that natural understanding, but I just want to make sure.”

Tanishq says he’s steamrolling through the science material, though he does admit language arts gives him some difficulty. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he has taken advanced college-level courses in astronomy, chemistry, geology, biotech, history and computer programming.

And while Tanishq keeps busy with a voracious appetite for learning, he says he still manages to squeeze in play time with friends his age and participates in a choir group. His mom, Taji, admits it’s a lot of work driving him around to his various activities.

“I do normal stuff kids my age do, like play,” he said, adding that he also has college friends, mostly from the astronomy club at American River College.  His mom says he also likes playing the piano (He gave a recital at age three.), tennis, table tennis, Wii games and watching TV.

Taji, a veterinarian, says she first thought something was unusual about Tanishq when he expressed interest in books as a baby.

“He was very curious what was in them,” she said. “He enjoyed listening when I’d read to him, and he’d grab the book and try to flip pages.”

Taji mentioned her observations to her husband Bijou, a computer programmer for underwater remotely operated vehicles, who suggested it was more a case of a new mom thinking her baby was the best.

But the evidence kept piling up.

“He became fascinated with clocks,” said Taji. “Around two [years old], he could read a clock and tell time.”

By four, Tanishq was accepted to Mensa, the world renowned organization for people of high intelligence. And by five, he was already speeding past his peers in reading comprehension.

“In a week or two he jumped to second-grade level books, joined the accelerated reading program and after a few months, he jumped to third and fourth grade level books, scoring about 95 percent on comprehension quizzes,” Taji said. “Now, he’s in the fifth grade but doing seventh grade English and eighth grade math through Stanford [University]’s online program for gifted children.”

Taji is quick to defend against those who say parents shouldn’t push their kids.

“People think the parents push the children and say we are not giving him a childhood,” she said. “That’s just not the case. He’s really enjoying his childhood. In fact, it’s the other way around. He has the passion and the drive to learn and do things. We just can’t stop him. At six, he Googled up everything to see what courses were being offered in Sacramento.”

According to Tanishq’s mom, it was her son’s idea to start taking college courses.

Tanishq was rejected from several higher education institutions before finally being given a chance to take a course at American River College where, at seven, he audited an advanced geology course. Stephen Sterling, the professor, had to convince other faculty members to allow a young child to attend classes.

“I told the dean, ‘You don’t get it,’” said Sterling. “‘He’s going to be done with a BA [Bachelor of Arts] at 11, and have a doctorate from Stanford at 16 or 17. Where’s he going to say he got his start?’”

Sterling says the dean was receptive but “rolled her eyes a bit.” Now, he says, everyone who’s met Tanishq “totally knows what he’s all about.”

The young prodigy initially had to be accompanied by his mom.

“I registered as a student, and he could come and read my materials,” said Taji. “He would study with me. We were like study partners. That’s how he learned geology. Then the professors realized he had so much potential, and so we went back to the college, and they allowed him to officially enrol.”

Since then, Sterling has taken Tanishq, who is still not a full-time student, under his wing.

“He got the highest score in the class,” Sterling said, adding that during the daily quizzes, he noticed Tanishq was peering at his mom’s papers and thought he might be looking for help.

“I didn’t really care because he was auditing,” he said.

Then, during the final exam, Sterling says he saw Tanishq again looking at his mother’s paper, but this time he heard Tanishq telling his mom she had something wrong.

“He’d been helping her the whole time, not the other way around,” Sterling said. “He got an A,” adding that it was amazing to read these highly developed, sophisticated test answers all in child’s handwriting.

Sterling can’t believe colleges and universities aren’t jumping at the chance to enrol Tanishq.

“If I was at Stanford, I’d be saying to the president, ‘We need to get this kid here.’” he said.  “‘By the time he’s 35, he’s going to be a billionaire and giving to our university.’”

Sterling says that in addition to being a great student, Tanishq is a very well liked member of the school community. He never shows off and is always willing to help his classmates.

And what does Tanishq want to do when he grows up?

“That’s simple,” he says. “A scientist, doctor or president of the United States. But I have to wait until around 2040, because I have to be 35 to become president.”

His vice presidential choice might end up being his younger sister, who also was accepted to Mensa at the age of four.

Below is an episode of the YouTube show "Prodigies" featuring Tanishq.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: riano baggy from: ina
August 22, 2012 10:47 PM
don't worry Tanishq still studying take open university it's no problem about your age.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid