Parents of gifted children often look for outside-of-school opportunities for their children as a way of supplementing the programs offered at school or even in place of school programs. When making decisions about sending your child to a summer program or other outside-of-school opportunity, consider the following:
Selecting a Summer Program
If Your Child Isn’t Going to Summer Camp
First, make sure you fill out the financial aid request forms for each program. Ask program personnel for help in securing financial aid. Many programs are able to help you. Don’t assume you can’t qualify for financial aid.
Check with local organizations, such as the Rotary, Kiwanis, or your township foundation. They might give partial scholarships to help talented students participate in special academic opportunities.
The residential component is what makes many summer programs expensive. Consider a commuter program, or consider having your child stay with a relative or friend to attend a commuter program in another city.
Contact local museums, zoos, planetariums, etc. They may have programs for junior tour guides or junior volunteers. The students might learn more as volunteers than they would in a paid program (and there's no cost!).
Consider looking at universities in your area, and contact departments of interest. The person answering the phone can probably direct you to a professor who might take some time with a younger student. Many departments maintain a list of graduate students who are willing to tutor younger students in their subject area. These graduate students could be great contacts to help get your child into a lab as a volunteer or they might work with your child on a science fair project.
Investigate contests and competitions. Participating in a science fair or competition gives a student the chance to work on a long-term project. Competing in math or writing contests encourages students to do their best work and introduces them to students (and adults) with similar interests. Excellent performance in a competition may open doors to other opportunities.
Science and technology resources
Camp Kennedy Space Center https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/camps-and-education/camp-kennedy-space-center for students in grades 2-9
National Computer Camp https://nccamp.com/
SPARK https://precollege.brown.edu/stem1/ For 7th and 8th graders
BEST Robotics Competition http://www.bestinc.org/ Boosting Engineering Science and Technology
FIRST LEGO League Robotics competition: http://www.firstlegoleague.org/
The Dupont Challenge: Science Essay Competition http://www.thechallenge.dupont.com
Regeneron Science Talent Search https://student.societyforscience.org/regeneron-sts Grade 12.
Science Olympiad https://www.soinc.org
American Mathematics Competitions https://www.maa.org/math-competitions
The Art of Problem Solving: https://artofproblemsolving.com/
Math Forum https://www.nctm.org/mathforum/
Math League http://www.mathleague.com/
Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools http://www.moems.org/
Odyssey of the Mind https://www.odysseyofthemind.com/?
Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists https://www.promys.org/
Ross Mathematics Program http://u.osu.edu/rossmath/
USA Math Talent Search http://www.usamts.org
U.S. Chess Federation https://new.uschess.org/home/
Online math games
Stone Soup, a magazine by young writers and artists: https://stonesoup.com
Teen ink: by teens, for teens. http://www.teenink.com
Writers’ Slate: poetry and prose by students in K-12: http://www.writingconference.com/wpwritingconference/contest/
The America Library of Poetry Student Poetry Contests: http://www.libraryofpoetry.com
Knowledge Master Open: http://www.greatauk.com/KMO.html
The National Council of Teachers of English Student Awards: http://www2.ncte.org/awards/student-awards/
National Geographic Bee: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/bee
National History Day Contest: https://www.nhd.org/national-contest
Scripps National Spelling Bee: http://spellingbee.com/
The Stock Market Game: https://www.stockmarketgame.org/
The Word Masters Challenge: http://www.wordmasterschallenge.com/
City Theatre Young Playwrights contest, Pittsburgh: http://www.citytheatrecompany.org/education/young-playwrights-contest/
National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) Young Arts Program: http://www.youngarts.org/
Database of Award-Winning Children’s Literatures: http://www.dawcl.com
EyeWitness to history: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com
GeoNet: A Geography Game: https://www.eduplace.com/geonet/
Guys Read: A Reading Site for Boys: http://www.guysread.com
National Geographic Kids: https://www.nationalgeographic.com
Summer Reading Lists: http://www.educationworld.com/summer_reading/
U.S. 50: A Guide to the 50 states: http://www.theus50.com
Lists of Summer Programs sorted by day camps, residential and topics of interest http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10069
Leap@CMU: Carnegie Mellon. Interact with leading computer scientists at CMU in mathematics and robotics. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~./leap/
Carolina Journalism Institute https://sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/cic/journalism_and_mass_communications/scholastic_organizations/sipa/cji/
Carnegie Mellon pre-college program. Take undergraduate courses while living in dorms. https://admission.enrollment.cmu.edu/pages/pre-college/
Research Science Institute: https://www.cee.org/research-science-institute
Summer programs: http://cty.jhu.edu/imagine/resources/summer_programs/
Other Great Resources
Duke TIP - Educational Opportunity Guide. https://blogs.tip.duke.edu/giftedtoday/
Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org
KidSource Online: https://web.archive.org/web/20160205220630/http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/pages/ed.gifted.html
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
The appearance of any information in the Davidson Institute's Database does not imply an endorsement by, or any affiliation with, the Davidson Institute. All information presented is for informational purposes only and is solely the opinion of and the responsibility of the author. Although reasonable effort is made to present accurate information, the Davidson Institute makes no guarantees of any kind, including as to accuracy or completeness. Use of such information is at the sole risk of the reader.