Davidson Young Scholars - Frequently Asked Questions

Davidson Young Scholars Program Information

Q. What is the Davidson Young Scholars program?
This free program offers services designed to nurture the intellectual, social, emotional, and academic development of profoundly intelligent young people between the ages of 5 and 18 (students must be between the ages of 5 and 16 when applying). Families choose their level of involvement in each of the services provided, including individualized support from a Family Consultant, an online community of Young Scholars and their parents, online seminars facilitated by experts, get-togethers, and online directories. A family’s participation may ebb and flow over time as their needs change.

Q. How can a Family Consultant help our family?
Family Consultants are available to Young Scholar families wanting to connect with a professional who can assist with resource location, educational advocacy, talent development, college planning, academic support, and social and emotional development. Some families work very closely with a Family Consultant and develop a close relationship over time; other families find they do not need this level of support and, instead, take advantage of the other services offered through the Young Scholars program.

Q. Is support focused primarily on academics?
Not necessarily. Due to their intellectual ability, profoundly gifted students often have an extreme need for constant mental stimulation and the ability to learn and process complex information rapidly. Therefore, these students and their parents frequently need guidance in finding a supportive academic environment and like-minded peers. The Young Scholars program focuses on the whole child, however, so families can also access support based on their needs in other areas such as social and emotional development.

Q. Is it necessary to have access to a computer, email and the Internet to participate in the program?
Yes. Not only do we communicate information about the program through email correspondence and our private website, but working together online also offers parents and Young Scholars the opportunity to connect, share experiences, and learn from each other. Need-based financial assistance is available to provide Young Scholars and their families with the appropriate hardware, software and Internet connectivity required to participate.

Q. What is the duration of the Young Scholar’s enrollment in the program?
Davidson Young Scholars are eligible to receive services until the age of 18. Once a Young Scholar turns 18 years old, the young person becomes part of our Alumni program, which offers opportunities for giving back to the Young Scholar community, as well as forums for Alumni and families to continue communication.

Q. What does it cost to participate in the Davidson Young Scholars program?
There is no fee to apply to, or participate in, the Young Scholars program.

Young Scholars Application and Qualification Criteria

Eligibility and Application

Q. Who is eligible to apply?
To be eligible for the Davidson Young Scholars program, applicants must:
  • Meet or exceed the minimum Qualification Criteria;
  • Be 5 to 16 years old at the time of application;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States; and
  • Reside in the United States or be stationed overseas due to active U.S. military duty (please note our services to U.S. military families overseas may be limited).
Q. How do I access the Young Scholars application?
A link to the Online Application System is available on the How to Apply page.

Q. Can you tell me a little more about the application process?
Applications are reviewed monthly. Applications completed by the first day of each month, or the next business day following a weekend or holiday, will be reviewed in that month. Applications are not considered complete until Parent Agreement Forms have been signed by each custodial parent, and the Nominator Form has been submitted. 

Young Scholar applications are reviewed on an individual basis to determine if an applicant is qualified, if more information is needed, or if the Young Scholars Program is not a good fit at that time. In order for an applicant to qualify, all items submitted to demonstrate extreme precocity must meet or exceed the minimum Qualification Criteria. Decision notifications will be sent via email by the end of the review month. Because of the large volume of applications we receive, please refrain from contacting the Davidson Institute unless you have reason to believe there is a problem with your application, or if you have technical difficulties using the Online Application System.

Q. How will I know when the application I submitted is complete and will be sent to review?
The parent selected as primary contact on the Parent/Guardian page of the application will receive automatic emails from the online application system throughout the application process, including an email once the entire application and forms are confirmed to be complete. At this point, the application will go to review on the 1st of the following month. The primary contact will also receive emails at each of the following points:
  • After submitting the online application, to notify you it has been received. At this time, the primary contact and other custodial parent listed in the application will receive a link to the Parent Agreement Form.
  • Once the Nominator has submitted the Nomination Form.
  • If the application or forms are deemed incomplete, you will receive an email indicating next steps. 
Q. I submitted an application but haven’t received any emails!
First, check your spam or junk folder. Oftentimes, automatic emails sent by the online application system are classified as spam. In order to minimize this, please add youngscholarsapps@davidsongifted.org to your contact list/address book and notify your Nominator to do the same. Please note this is an unmonitored mailbox and emails sent to that address will not be read.

Q. Who can fill out the Nominator form?
A Nominator must be someone outside the family who did not administer testing to the applicant and can speak to the applicant’s academic and extreme intellectual abilities. You may wish to consider teachers, instructors, librarians, mentors, coaches, or tutors as possible options. Once this person’s information is entered into the Online Application System and the application has been submitted, an email will be sent to the Nominator with a link to their form. The completed Nominator Form is required for an application to be reviewed.

Q. When should I receive an email letting me know if my child has been accepted?
Decision notifications will be sent via email to the primary contact listed in the application by the end of the review month. Because of the large volume of applications we receive, it often takes the entire month to complete the review process. All applicants will receive an email stating whether the applicant is accepted, not eligible, or if more information is needed. Please do not contact staff to check on an applicant’s status during the review month as this delays the process for all applicants. If you have not received a decision notification by the first day of the month following the review, please first check your junk/spam folder. If you do not see an email, please contact ysapplications@davidsongifted.org.

Test and Score Guidelines

Q. The IQ and/or achievement tests I have for my child are not listed on the website. Can I submit them in place of an accepted test?
No. The Davidson Institute’s Qualification Criteria was developed in coordination with testing professionals to best identify young people on the extreme end of the gifted continuum who are likely to benefit from the services we offer. IQ tests (such as the RIAS, CoGAT, WASI or SB-LM) and achievement tests (such as the MAP, SCAT, ITBS, STAR, and Stanford Achievement Test) cannot take the place of the tests listed on the Qualification Criteria page under Option #1 or Option #2. There are no exceptions. Additional tests may be submitted as PDFs in the Supplemental Information section of the Young Scholar application to further demonstrate precocity.

Q. Can you review test reports for eligibility prior to the application process?
The Davidson Institute is unable to determine whether or not an applicant will qualify for the Young Scholars program outside the context of a complete application. If you believe your child may qualify for the Young Scholars program and want a decision regarding their eligibility, it is best to submit an application. After reviewing the application, the committee will decide if the applicant qualifies, does not qualify with the information provided, or if additional information is needed to make a final decision. Please see the Supplemental Information section on the Qualification Criteria page if you would like to include additional information that you believe may assist the review committee in making a decision. After carefully reviewing the Qualification Criteria page and the other FAQs, you may contact ysapplications@davidsongifted.org if your question has not been answered.

Q. What constitutes a full report? What if I did not receive one with my child’s test scores?
Typically, the tester will include a written summary of how the child presented on the day of testing; whether the child gave their best effort on the tests; and, if the testing is considered valid. If a full report is not available, please provide an explanation along with the scores submitted.

Q. I don’t have any of the tests listed on your website, where can I find them?
Your school or district may be able to administer the testing we require. You can also make an appointment with a private tester or testing center for individually administered achievement and intelligence testing. If you are looking for a tester in your area, you may wish to check out Hoagies’ Gifted Page, your state gifted association, or a national professional association such as the APA or National Register. For more information on assessment you may also read “A Place To Start: Is My Child Gifted?”.

Q. What if my child does not meet the minimum qualification criteria?
As we strive to serve the extreme of the gifted population, the scores listed on our website are considered to be the minimum eligibility requirements. However, we recognize that testing is only a small snapshot of a whole child and we take the entire application into consideration when determining eligibility. If the tester feels there were extraneous circumstances preventing a child from meeting the minimum criteria, a letter from the tester included with the application to explain the test scores will be considered in the review process. You may also review the Supplemental Information section on the Qualification Criteria page if you would like to include additional information that you believe may assist the review committee in making a decision. Many very bright students may not meet our qualification criteria for this program, but are likely to benefit from the information and free resources that the Davidson Institute makes available to the public via our websites, including our searchable Davidson Gifted Database, the public Gifted Issues discussion forum, and several guidebooks.

Q. Are talent search/college placement tests evaluated based on the child’s age or grade?
The ACT, SAT, and EXPLORE are evaluated based on the grade the student was in at the time the test was taken. Please see the Qualification Criteria page for score requirements. As testing is always reviewed in the context of the entire application, please feel free to include additional information for the review committee to consider regarding your child’s age at the time of testing. This may be added to the Supplemental Information section of the application or in the open-ended discussion questions.

Q. Does the Davidson Institute have a reporting code for the SAT or ACT?
No. Official score reports are submitted by parents once they become available.

Supplemental Information

Q. Should I include supplemental information?
This section of the application is completely optional. The review committee will not look poorly upon applications that do not include supplemental information. While additional information will not override scores that fall significantly below the Qualification Criteria, this section can be used to include additional test scores, academic work samples, videos, extenuating circumstances, or other evidence the parent or applicant believes demonstrates extreme intellectual and academic abilities. 

Q. How will academic work samples be reviewed?
The committee is looking for academic work samples that clearly demonstrate the applicant is working at least two to three grade levels above age peers in academic areas, or that highlight the student’s ability to learn and process complex information rapidly, a need to explore subjects in surprising depth, or an insatiable curiosity. In order to accurately assess work samples, it is beneficial for the review committee to have detailed information about each work sample. For example, the title and grade level of workbooks used, whether a work sample was edited several times or is a first draft, if the work was completed independently or was revised based on parent or teacher feedback, and the age and grade level at the time the work was completed.

Q. My child does not produce a lot of work samples, what do you suggest?
Work samples are not required for the application. However, if you would like to include additional information, you may include videos demonstrating the applicant’s academic abilities. Videos should consist of the applicant discussing an area of interest, demonstrating advanced comprehension of academic material (science, mathematics, literature, etc.) or presenting a project that is at least two to three grade levels above age peers. All video files must be uploaded in the Online Application System as *.wmv files no larger than 75MB (video help page). 

Q. Can I submit a video of my child’s music performance or samples of artwork?
This information will not add to the review committee’s decision. While videos of musicianship or artistic pieces years beyond same-age peers displays talent, it does not demonstrate the academic qualifiers we look for when determining eligibility for the Young Scholars program. The services provided by the Young Scholars program are not designed to nurture these types of talent.

Q. Can I submit awards/certificates or report cards to show my child’s accomplishments?
Please do not submit certificates, awards, or non-academic samples of any kind as these do not demonstrate a child’s advanced thinking and problem-solving skills and will not add to the review committee’s decision.

Enrollment, Custody & Communication

NOTE: The use of the term “legal custody” in the following Q&A information refers to parents/guardians who share legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the child, regardless of any “physical custody” arrangements that control where the child spends time. In general, each parent has legal custody unless that is extinguished by a court order.

Q. After being accepted into the Young Scholars program, what are the next steps?
Applicants accepted to the Young Scholars program must complete an Enrollment Process before services can be made available. It is the responsibility of the parent selected as primary contact on the Parent/Guardian page of the application to ensure that all persons with legal custody of the child read and sign the enrollment document. The enrollment document outlines the Davidson Institute’s confidentiality policy, our services for individual families, and the rules of our online communication channels. The enrollment document also covers other important matters such as legal releases. The Davidson Institute reserves the right to refuse participation to any applicant if these enrollment requirements are not satisfied. Please contact our office if you need assistance with special circumstances.

Q. What else am I agreeing to by signing the enrollment document?
Please know that by participating in the Young Scholars program, families will be consenting to comply with Davidson Institute policies and procedures, and statutes, regulations and case law of the State of Nevada where the Davidson Institute for Talent Development is organized as a not-for-profit corporation and maintains its principal offices. The policies and procedures of the Davidson Institute are subject to reasonable revision without notice.

Q. How will the Davidson Institute communicate with me and with any other parent/guardian who has legal custody of the applicant?
Applicants for the Young Scholar program must provide contact information for any person who shares legal custody of the applicant. As noted above, these persons must read and sign the Young Scholar enrollment document. Once enrolled, the Davidson Institute will copy any person who shares legal custody of a Young Scholar on all correspondence, emails and other written communication from the Davidson Institute. Further, Nevada state law (Nevada Revised Statute 125.520) requires that access to records and other information pertaining to a minor child must not be denied to a parent for the reason that such parent is not the child’s custodial parent.

If any parent/guardian with legal custody of the Young Scholar does not wish to receive correspondence, emails or other written communication from the Davidson Institute, that parent/guardian must provide the Davidson Institute with a signed letter (not an email) requesting to be excluded from copies of communications.

If a change in legal custody of a Young Scholar occurs after their enrollment paperwork has been received by the Davidson Institute, we will require legal documentation, satisfactory to us, proving that any applicable rights, for example, rights to access records or rights to make decisions on behalf of the child, have been extinguished before we will alter our communication or other interactions with parent(s)/guardian(s). It is up to the parent(s)/guardian(s) to let us know and provide the appropriate documentation concerning any extinguishment of rights.

Q. What if I am in the middle of a divorce, separation, or custody dispute and want to ask my Family Consultant to write something (for example, to a court) on my behalf?
The Davidson Institute has a policy that prohibits Family Consultants or other staff members from participating in divorce, separation and/or custody cases. Family Consultants may not provide written or verbal commentary on personal character or circumstances in support of any divorce or other legal proceedings.

Q. Will the Davidson Institute reveal the names of the participants with anyone outside the group?
We will not share the names, descriptive information, or photographs of the participants without written consent from the Young Scholar's parents. For more information, please read the Davidson Young Scholars Confidentiality Policy.

Q. What if my child is accepted as a Davidson Young Scholar and the program is not a good match?
Although the vast majority of individuals who access our services find them beneficial, these services are not a "good match" for every family. In these rare cases, the Davidson Institute retains the right to modify or terminate services. Families also may choose to withdraw from the program at any time.

If your question is not answered above, please email ysapplications@davidsongifted.org. Emails will be answered within three to five business days.

Back to Young Scholars Home

"My interactions with the Family Consultants, the resources they have recommended, the Summit, and parents of other Young Scholars via eLists and Bulletin Boards have been crucial to a life-changing education for my daughter. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the role the Davidson Institute has played in our lives."
- Davidson Young Scholar Parent

Email this Page Email this Page