The following text originally appeared in the Davidson Digest, a parent-focused newsletter exclusively for Davidson Young Scholar families. If your student is preparing for high school or college (or seeking alternative options), see sections below addressing each.
There are obvious considerations that may cross your mind when preparing your middle schooler for
the transition to high school. You may be worried about their executive functioning skills, making new
friends, or already thinking about college. However, there are a few questions and concerns that may
not have crossed your mind. First and foremost is finding a prospective school. This might mean looking beyond the locally zoned
school towards different public schools, magnet programs, private schools, homeschool co-ops, or
charter and independent school options. You might narrow your list of schools by considering which
kind of advanced courses your child wants to pursue in high school.
You will need to pay special attention to any steps needed to enroll your child in a school that your
family is not zoned for. This means planning ahead early to ensure you meet any deadlines. For
example, you may need to submit a formal application, apply to a lottery system, your child may need
to audition, or you may need to discuss transportations solutions if bussing isn’t an option. In addition,
many education employees are out in the summer months so, if you need to communicate with any
staff members, it is best to contact them earlier in the year while school is in session.
Another consideration may be the continuation of gifted services available at the high school level.
While not universally true, many gifted programs end after middle school, and AP-type courses are
expected to stand-in for gifted programming. If you live in a state that has gifted education
programming, try contacting the district Gifted Education Coordinator to ask if there are any
additional opportunities. If you don’t live in an area with gifted programming, speak with the
Curriculum & Instruction Specialist or principal about options available to advanced students, such as
mentoring or internships.
Lastly, it will be important to communicate with the academic adviser or person who is in charge of
student schedules. You may need to ask specific questions about their policies, such as:
Navigating bureaucracy is never a fun part of a new school. However, knowing which questions to ask
is sometimes half of the battle. We hope this helps you feel a little more prepared as you pave the way
for your future freshman!
View Davidson Gifted articles related to achievements tests and dual enrollment.
View Davidson Gifted resources related to
achievements tests and dual enrollment.
What do you imagine life after high school will look like for your student? Do you picture them attending
a four year institution where they can study and major in their field of passion? Do you think they want
to take a break from the structured life of school and gain some real world experience? Or, have they
considered a structured gap year where one can gain otherworldly experience? You are not alone as you
process through all the options accessible to your gifted student. Many Young Scholars and their families
ask the Davidson team about the best path after high school for profoundly gifted students,
but there isn’t one correct option that works for everyone. When we have this conversation with our
families, certain paths we talk about include:
College. Gifted students who want a typical college experience are at every type of institution you can
imagine. A typical college experience can occur at small liberal arts colleges, elite universities, state
schools, technical universities, women’s colleges, and even schooling opportunities outside the country.
To get an idea of the type of college experience your student may want after high school, a couple
resources that others have found helpful include: Colleges That Change Lives and Cool Colleges for
the Hyper-Intelligent, Self Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different.
Structured Gap Years. Some gifted students want to take some time after high school for personal
development and growth. This can often be in the form of a structured gap year. Structured gap year
programs may include travel, internships, and academic opportunities. One advantage of such programs
is that they include a support network and handle much of the planning. And, these programs can
connect a student with other people on a similar path. A couple gap year organizations, such as
Global Citizen Year, even offer financial aid and scholarships to students.
Work Experience. Other times, students may want to take a break from all the hustle and bustle school
can bring and gain an education in the form of work experience. If your student has a particular skillset,
why not encourage growing that and have them seek outlets to work professionally? Work experience
can also look particularly good on a resume and/or cover letter should your student want to apply to
college in the coming years.
We hope reviewing these different paths after high school can help ease your mind (and your student’s)
for the road ahead.
View more Davidson Gifted Database articles related to college planning.
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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.