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Woman, 93, Gets College Degree Online — With a Perfect GPA

"I'm comfortable being online," said Amy Craton, who is finishing her Bachelor's degree in creative writing and English.
At 93 years old, Amy Craton of Honolulu is getting her college degree online.
At 93 years old, Amy Craton of Honolulu is getting her college degree online.Courtesy of Amy Craton

Amy Craton is a typical college student. She loves scrolling through Facebook, watching Netflix, and going to bed way too late.

There's just one small difference between her and her classmates: Craton is 93 years old.

"Sitting here one day in front of the computer, I thought, boy, I'm just wasting my time here. I think I'll go back to college and finish my degree," Craton, who lives in Honolulu, told NBC News.

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Craton first went to college decades ago, but the mother of four had to cut her studies short to get a full-time job after she and her husband divorced.

At 93 years old, Amy Craton of Honolulu is getting her college degree online.
At 93 years old, Amy Craton of Honolulu is getting her college degree online.Courtesy of Amy Craton

She worked as an administrative assistant for a chemical plant for years, and always dreamed of finishing her degree. But because she now uses a wheelchair and is hard of hearing, attending college in person wasn't a possibility.

So after her son suggested she take classes online, Craton decided to enroll in virtual courses through Southern New Hampshire University — a school she chose, she said, because it brought back fond memories of vacationing in New Hampshire as a child. Craton is pursuing a Bachelor's in creative writing and English through the university's online portal.

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Despite her age — she'll be 94 by the time she graduates in the fall — the computer-savvy Craton hasn't encountered any technical difficulties.

"I'm on Facebook and I email. I'm all over. The minute I get up in the morning, I go over and I check the news here and in the world," she said. "I'm comfortable being online."

With a 4.0 GPA, she also hasn't had any trouble keeping up with the course load, said her academic adviser, Chrisandra Bauer, who has worked with Craton since she enrolled in September 2014.

Bauer called Craton "so persistent and so dedicated," and said she rarely reaches out for help.

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"This is kind of something amazing for me to witness," Bauer told NBC News. "She's just that kind of student that takes initiative and figures things out on her own."

University officials say Craton will be the oldest student to ever get her degree from Southern New Hampshire University. She may also be one of the oldest students in the U.S., although records are hard to come by: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, just 5 percent of undergraduates at private four-year non-profit institutions are 35 and older, but it doesn't break down the statistics beyond that.

The biggest challenge Craton has encountered is the six-hour time difference between Hawaii and New Hampshire. To get her assignments in on time, Craton will often stay up until the wee hours of the morning.

"At nighttime, it's a good time for me to do my studying and my writing. It will be sometimes 5 o'clock in the morning before I go to bed," she said.

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Craton has two terms left before she graduates in October.

"She isn't able to travel [to commencement] so she'll actually be getting her diploma in the mail," Bauer said. "That's something I'm working on, with making sure we'll be able to send a nice package, have it framed. Just to make it a little bit more special."

After Craton graduates, she plans to use her degree to write poetry. She's already bought a haikus for beginners book, along with other books on poetry.

"It's never dull. I've always got something to do. And I'm always learning something," she said.