Best College Planning Tips for Gifted Students


What Are Some Best College Planning Practices for Gifted Students?

Start early in planning college for gifted students. First, they need to be encouraged to study both traditional subjects like math and science along with non-traditional subjects like art, music, and dance.

If you live near a college, note that some institutions offer a special track for gifted students to take pre-college classes.  This may vary from specialized courses for a specific talent, like music or art, to general studies. Some secondary schools even allow gifted students to accelerate through grades or have advanced cohorts. With these opportunities for gifted children, schools often lead them to scholarships to help offset college tuition costs.

What is the Difference Between College Recruiting and College Planning?

College “recruiting” typically involves direct contact with a college representative.  This administrator has reached out to a scholar due to a high standard (test scores, talent, athletics, etc.).  A formal or informal invitation to apply may include anything: ranging from a college fair interview to filling out college applications.  It may also include submitting test scores, grades, and transcripts to colleges that have sent interest letters.

On the other hand, college “planning” involves;

  • The parent-scholar process of research and discovery
  • Choosing a career-focused education based on the aptitude, interests, and benefits of the scholar.
  • Matching the kind of education that is the best fit for the whole family with the career of the scholar in mind.

Parents and their scholars conduct the best research alongside a college planner or educational coach. Planners and coaches specialize in knowing what programs provide mutually beneficial options for parents, scholars, and colleges.

When Should We Start the College Process for a Gifted Student?

Studies have shown that Gifted Students need just as much support as all other students.  Unfortunately, they are often neglected due to the traditional emphasis on students who are at or below grade-level performance.

Due to these findings, it is best for parents to note that the college and career roadmap begins from the moment of a notable observation.  This means that the fuel is provided early. For example, identification begins when the child chooses reading or writing over another free-time activity.  Perhaps a scholar completes an entire math workbook months ahead of their peers.  The key is to look for clues regarding aptitude and attitude toward an interest.

Why is this important for college preparation?  Gifted students excel in one or more areas.  When a scholar shows independent interest in an area, parents should begin looking for supplemental mentorship programs.  A college or parent coach is best to help with this balance.  Otherwise, a parent may become more ambitious than the child and overload them with irrelevant activities.  In this case, the talent becomes something the child loathes instead of loves.

Adversely, the ambivalent parent may be tempted to allow the child to “figure it out” on their own.  This means that the scholar is not provided enough support to maximize opportunities.  This is not a good practice because the child is not yet able to conduct adult business or enter into contracts on their own.  Some life skills and social scenarios can be traumatic when introduced too early.

Either approach can cause burnout, sliding, or disengagement in the scholar.   A lot of scholar talent goes latent due to parent ambition or ambivalence.

Start with an academic evaluation at your local school.  Contact us to help you with customizing your College Ready Roadmap.

What are the Benefits of a College Planning Service?

If you are planning on attending college soon or have a gifted scholar of any age, a college planning service may be helpful. With a college planning service, you will get help finding programs- not just colleges and universities- that meet your academic needs and budget requirements. You may be able to simultaneously help your scholar and save money by choosing a school that provides meaningful support or one that offers financial aid.

How Do Busy Parents Include a College Planning Strategy for their Gifted Child?

Start with requesting an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  Contrary to popular belief, this is not just for special needs children, but also for gifted scholars!

The timing may vary per individual circumstance, but most successful cases include the college planning strategy in their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) after two years if observed while school age (between the ages of 5-12, or grades 1-6).

The IEP is a written statement that includes specific goals and objectives, services, placement and modifications, and any other special needs that your child may need in school. Make sure that the IEP covers all aspects of your child’s education, social and cognitive abilities. Your child should also participate in regular counseling sessions to help him/her prepare for college and deal with the range of social structures they may encounter as a gifted student.

For more support regarding College Planning for Gifted Scholars, join our network and schedule a time to connect.


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