University of Minnesota’s youngest student prepares for national spotlight

Updated: November 10, 2019 12:19 PM

In the rush of students at the University of Minnesota, full-time college student Elliott Tanner is found with his backpack, student ID badge and his mom heading to his next class. 

Elliott, 11, is in his first semester at Minnesota after finishing classwork at Normandale Community College. He's a junior this year.


"At first it's like...'oooh....oohh... fancy new kid and he's only 11' but then after about a few days to a week or so, they start to accept me for my own," Elliott said.

Elliott will appear on 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Sunday at 7 p.m. on the show 'Kids Say the Darndest Things.'

Elliott, from St. Louis Park, was reading by age two and dividing by age four, according to his family, before finishing elementary and high school before age nine. 

"We're super blessed to have him in our lives. Besides being super smart, he's very kind and sweet," said Elliott's mother, Michelle Tanner.

Michelle goes with Elliott to his upper-level classes, including calculus and physics, but then leaves him at the door.

"I hang out at a coffee shop, meet him after class, and walk him to his next class," Michelle said. "I feel fortunate I get to have that time with him."

Elliott said there are challenges to being 11 years old in a college classroom with taller kids and adults.

"I still have to make sure I get the first or second row," Elliott said so that he can see the board and the professor due to the taller people in the room.

At the U of M, he fits in as a student outside the classroom. He was named at Homecoming to their royalty court.

"I'm just a college student... don't think of me as like being super special," Elliott said. "I'm just like a 21-year-old, but I'm 11."
The 11-year-old is dreaming of his first quantum physics class that he'll soon take in college.

"I still want to be either a mathematics or physics professor or theoretical physics, or mathematician. That seems like good professions to go into," Elliott said. 

Outside of school, he likes reading Harry Potter, playing golf and listening to The Beatles and Billy Joel.

More from KSTP:

Digital Daily: Tween graduates from St. Petersburg College

Graduate, 14, youngest ever at Texas Christian University 

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Eric Chaloux

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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