Posts filed under ‘social-emotional needs’

Not accepted by Harvard? You’re in good company.

Here’s an excellent case study on what lengths parents have to go to in order to find appropriate educational opportunities for their profoundly gifted children by Susan Freinkel, titled “IQ like Einstein:  What is it really like to parent a profoundly gifted child?

If your own student isn’t getting into Harvard, take heart.  The profoundly gifted kids from Davidson Academy often don’t go there either.

“A diploma from Davidson doesn’t translate into automatic admission to Harvard or Yale, says Melissa Lance, communications manager for Davidson Institute. Indeed, with a handful of exceptions, the list of schools that graduates are attending is surprisingly middle-tier. Lance offers several explanations: students may not have that well-rounded resume admissions officers are seeking; they may not have high GPAs; or they may not be seduced by the prestige of a top-tier school, preferring to find a place that simply feels to them like a good fit. Whatever the reason, “not a lot of our students apply to the Ivies,” she says.”

If you’ve agonized about accelerating your student’s education, take heart from this research:

“Studies suggest that most highly gifted kids fit in just fine with older students and thrive when allowed to learn at an accelerated place. For instance, Australian researcher Miraca Gross followed a group of 60 students with very high IQs for two decades. She found that those who were allowed to skip ahead at least three grade levels tended to do well academically and socially; most got PhDs, settled into professional careers, formed relationships, and developed good friends. The 33 who were not allowed to accelerate in school had less charmed lives. Most ended up at less rigorous colleges and several never graduated high school or college. They also had more trouble forming social relationships. Having spent so many years feeling alienated, they had no practice connecting with people, Gross speculated.”


July 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

Where Will Their Lights Shine?

In middle school, gifted girls commonly “dumb down” because they believe that smart girls won’t be popular or get boyfriends.  It may take the boys a while to catch on, but by high school gifted kids of both sexes commonly hide their smarts.  After all, other kids may resent them or be jealous if they get all A’s, and if they fail or get a C, other kids will laugh at them.

What happens in college?

Sometimes gifted kids can bloom in college, finding a more intellectual environment and others with similar interests.

But if a gifted student goes to a school with lots of “average” college students, the same rules may apply.  I was reminded of this when reading the book, Gifted Grown Ups, when I came across this passage:

Gifted Grownups“…the school [Nora] originally attended featured large doses of boredom with weak courses and resentment from both students and faculty of her academic standards for herself.  “I liked asking questions in class.  I think people got hostile because the prof and I seem to be having a good time.   After a while, it got to me and I just shut up.  My sociology prof didn’t call on me deliberately because he said I did too much work for the level of the course.  When I came to him with my term project all planned in advance, he was actually nasty.  Social life?  I have to be careful about dates.   The last person was angry with me for using big words – and he had a master’s degree in business!”

“An intense student at a highly respected Catholic university, Bob enjoys discussing serious issues, but he finds it very lonely at parties because, he theorizes, bright girls have fallen for the myth that to be popular you have to cover your brain.  “To go to parties you have to do without discussin things you really care about and be more trivial.  I have begun interesting conversations with girls I know are very smart, only to have them turn it off if they think someone else may be listening.”‘

I wonder…does this happen at Harvard, MIT and Stanford, too?  Or can we truly find colleges for our gifted kids where they can let their lights shine?

March 24, 2013 at 5:32 pm Leave a comment

Another advantage for small colleges

I have an admitted bias toward small colleges, particularly for introverted students.  As I hear about my daughter’s contacts via Facebook with her new classmates at college, my bias is being reinforced.

Students are using Facebook groups for “Class of 20XX at XYZ College” to get questions answered, identify people with similar interests, and contact roommates, suitemates, and dormmates.   Within 2 days of getting their room assignments, she and her roommate had identified nearly 1/2 the students on their floor of the dorm through Facebook postings and they all “friended” each other.

She also suspects that this bonding process is much stronger at her school (small college, long way from home, most kids don’t have high school classmates coming with them) than at some of her friend’s colleges (large university, in our home state, multiple classmates from the same high school attending).  Leastways, that’s the impression she’s getting from some of her friends.

Note for parents who don’t allow their kids to have Facebook accounts:  if you want your child to start fitting into the social scheme, you’d best lift that restriction before the end of senior year.   And FYI, I’ll bet your child has a Facebook account, even if you have forbidden it.   It’s how they communicate.  Actually, it’s so mainstream now that they will probably start to abandon it within a few years!

July 23, 2009 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

5 Ways to Survive April

For seniors waiting for acceptance letters, March/April is a tough time.   Jay Matthews, Washington Post education columnist, offers some sage, sane but unorthodox advice to students in his article, “5 Ways to Survive the April College Crunch” on:

  1. How to handle happy, or grieving, friends
  2. How to decide which school is best
  3. What to do about welcoming weekends
  4. How to get off the waiting list
  5. What to do about a disappointing financial aid offer

March 15, 2009 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

The power of “Oooohh??!”

At the summer orientation for TAMS (Texas Academy of Math and Sciences), all day long the parents were taught that, when our kids call to tell us something, the only acceptable response is “Ooooohhh????” spoken with a questioning inflection that says “I’m interested; tell me more” but which does not express any approval or disapproval and does not include any advice or direction.   In other words, we have to start letting go and expect our children to make their own decisions.

We giggled whenever they made us say “Ooooohhhh???”, but it is probably a good technique for parents in general.

June 7, 2008 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

Little fish / big pond

At the National Association for Gifted Children conference, one of the undercurrents is the “Little Fish/Big Pond” issue.  If you take a brilliant child from a situation where he is the best and move him to an environment with his intellectual peers, where he is no longer the best, is that detrimental?   One pundit believes so, because the kids’ self-esteem takes a hit.

In the presentation, “An Investigation of Two Summer Residential Programs for Academically Talented Students”, researchers used data from Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP) and Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) summer programs for gifted kids to address that claim.  They found:

  • “During summer programs, students’ academic self-concept decreased.
  • “During summer programs, students’ athletic, appearance, social and parent relations self-concepts increased.
  • “Students rated summer programs higher than school on virtually all experiences.
  • “There were significant differences in ratings of summer programs by level of qualification (higher SAT level benefits mores), grade (younger students benefit academically while older students benefit socially), and gender (females give higher ratings).”

November 10, 2007 at 9:18 pm Leave a comment

Insights and advice from a parent of two gifted teenagers



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