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Frequently Asked Questions about Young Scholars


What is the 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.

How do we join the program?

Prospective Young Scholars apply to participate in the Young Scholars program. Applications include intelligence or achievement testing, a nomination from someone outside the family, and a parent questionnaire. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. For more information, please see our Admissions page.

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, navigating schools, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


What is the deadline to submit a completed application to the Young Scholars Program?

The deadline to submit a completed application to the Young Scholars Program is November 30, 2021 at 11:59 PM (Pacific Time). The Young Scholar Program application cycle ends on November 30, 2021 at 11:59 pm (Pacific Time). Any applications that are incomplete at that time will no longer be accessible to applicants. Applicants who still wish to apply to the Young Scholars Program will have to start a new application when the application cycle reopens on January 6, 2022.

What is the fee to apply to the Young Scholars program?

There is no fee to apply to, or participate in, the Young Scholars program.

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 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.

Can I submit more than one Recommender Form?

Unfortunately, our application system only allows for ONE Recommender Form to be submit per application. However, you can include a letter(s) of recommendation as part of the applicant’s portfolio as discussed on the Portfolio Requirements page.

Will I be receiving any email notifications after I apply through the Application System?

Yes, you will be receiving email notifications and prompts from our email server. If you do not receive these emails after applying, your mail server may be identifying some of our email as spam. If these emails are in your spam folder, enable your anti-spam and parental control software to accept email from by adding it to your list of safe senders.

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 within six weeks of a confirmed completion. 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 within six weeks of when you received the confirmation of completion email, please first check your junk/spam folder. If you do not see an email, please contact

What am I agreeing to if accepted to the Young Scholars program?

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.

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. Once accepted, any person who shares legal custody of a Young Scholar will have access to the services provided through the Davidson Institute. If a change in legal custody of a Young Scholar occurs after their enrollment materials have been processed 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.

Will the Davidson Institute reveal the names of 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.

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.


The intelligence and/or achievement tests I have for my child are not listed here. 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. Intelligence 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 under the Qualification Criteria. 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. However, these tests do not replace a portfolio; portfolio requirements are outlined on the Portfolio Requirements page.

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 until a complete application has been submitted. 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 page if you would like to include additional information that you believe may assist the review committee in making a decision.

What constitutes a full report for individually-administered intelligence and achievement tests? 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. Additionally, we often find that a full report offers valuable additional insights. For example, a full report may discuss child’s learning profile in depth or provide relevant background on a child’s academic or developmental history. A full report can also be a useful advocacy tool for families as some reports include suggestions for educational accommodations or diagnoses that affect a child’s classroom experience.

If a full report is not available, please contact the Application Coordinator at

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, a national gifted association such as SENG or 2e Newsletter, or a professional association such as the APA or National Register.

For families seeking a complete assessment that is also cost-effective, some universities with counseling or testing centers offer testing on a sliding or reduced scale for graduate students to gain experience while under close supervision by a licensed psychologist faculty member. You can look at the websites of local colleges or contact them directly to ask about these services.

For more information on assessment you may also read “Is My Child Gifted?

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 snapshot of a whole child and we take the entire application into consideration when determining eligibility. If the tester feels there were extenuating circumstances preventing a child from meeting the minimum criteria, a letter from the tester can be included with the application in the Portfolio Requirements section. You may also submit a portfolio as part of the Supplemental Information section.

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.

Portfolio Requirements

Should I include supplemental information?

Unless you are submitting testing that is over two years old, the supplemental information section of the application is optional. If you are submitting testing that is more than two years old, a portfolio is required. While supplemental information will not override scores that fall significantly below the Eligibility and Testing Requirements, this section can be used to enhance the review committees understanding of the applicant’s abilities.

If I include a portfolio, what it required?

Each portfolio submission must have the following:

  • The age and grade level of the applicant at the time the work was completed;
  • Description of the submission. In the description, please include whether or not the work was reviewed by anyone (i.e., whether the work was a first draft, a final copy that was edited based on the comments of a teacher, a work-in-progress that had received help from a parent, etc.. If a specific curriculum or workbook used, please include the title and grade level.

These items are collected in the application.

How will portfolio items be reviewed?

The review committee assesses work samples based on whether the samples

  • Demonstrate academic abilities in areas such as math, writing, reading, science or social studies;
  • Demonstrate the applicant’s ability to work at least two or more grade levels above age peers; and
  • Demonstrate an innate curiosity to explore subjects in surprising depth or the ability to learn and process complex information rapidly.

My child does not have a lot of current written work samples. What do you suggest?

Portfolio work samples 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 or more grade levels above age peers.

Can I submit awards, alternative testing, certificates or report cards to show my child’s accomplishments?

The purpose of the supplemental information section of the application is to provide the review committee with concrete examples of the applicant’s advanced thinking and problem-solving skills. Awards, alternative testing, certificates and report cards do not demonstrate the applicant’s skills and abilities in a way the review committee is able to assess. Therefore, they will not contribute to the review committee’s decision.

Can I submit more than one Recommender Form?

Unfortunately, our application system only allows for ONE Recommender Form to be submit per application. However, you can include a letter(s) of recommendation as part of the applicant’s portfolio.

Are photographs helpful to submit as Supplemental Information?

Photographs of students participating in activities often aren’t helpful as this type of photograph often does not give enough information for the committee to adequately assess them. For example, a photograph of a student completing a science experiment does not show the student’s preparation or execution; it only captures a moment in time. Photographs are considered relevant is when the photograph is part of a larger project. For example, if photographs are part of a student’s lab report (perhaps part of the process or result sections), that is acceptable to include in the portfolio.

What type of skills or abilities should be included in videos?

A student performing a music piece, dancing, performance a theatrical piece or demonstrating other artistic skills are not generally reviewed. This is because the review committee does not have the background adequate to judge the merit of these performances. However, you can submit videos in which an artistic discipline is discussed. For example, a student’s dance performance wouldn’t be considered. However, a student’s presentation on the evolution of a particular style or type of movement that happens to include movement to demonstrate points made in the presentation would be considered.

Can I submit a video of my child’s music performance or samples of artwork?

While videos of musicianship or artistic pieces years beyond same-age peers displays talent, it does not demonstrate the academic qualifications we look for when determining eligibility for the Young Scholars program.

Questions? Please contact