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Do Colleges Care About Gifted & Talented?

 

 

My daughter will be entering high school next year. She has always been in the GT program. How important is it for her to continue in GT? How do colleges view GT?

A lot elementary and middle schools stress GT – or the Gifted & Talented program. In my experience, GT is not a significant factor in most high schools and it plays a very minimal role in college admissions.

First, there is a lot of misinformation on what “gifted and talented” really means. Gifted and talented is a misnomer that gives the impression that these are the smart kids. That’s not really the case. GT students should really be called ‘outside-of-the-box-thinkers.’ In many parts of the country, schools have tried to change the perception and are starting to refer to it as “Exceptional Education”.

Thinking differently does not necessarily make these students smarter. In my experience, it is not unusual to have a GT student earn C’s  in high school.  This is the kid who decides to read a novel about Custer’s Last Stand instead of doing the questions at the end of the history chapter. Yes, he’s learning, but that doesn’t remove the homework zero from the grade book.

So if your student has been in a GT program and is getting ready to enter high school, you need to know colleges are more interested in what students DO than how they are labeled.  You may have a high achieving student who isn’t GT who accomplishes incredible things; colleges love to see this.  However, colleges won’t be impressed with a student who is identified as gifted who has shown no use of his abilities.

I’ve seen some school districts consider GT students to be more capable and automatically place those students into advanced classes.  I don’t agree with this policy.  However, if you have a GT student, the GT designation may help with placement in honors, pre-AP, AP or IB courses.  As with all course selection decisions, you need to determine what classes are right for your student.

You may have a high school that offers additional enrichment opportunities for GT students.  I taught at a school where the GT program offered an elective independent research. This class and the opportunity to do independent research would be viewed as beneficial by colleges and a rare perk I’ve seen offered to GT students on the high school level.

Don’t panic if your school doesn’t offer enrichment opportunities like this.  Most don’t.  Colleges evaluate each student’s academic record in the context of what was available.  A GT program may offer opportunity for enrichment but I wouldn’t worry about the label.

 

10 replies
  1. Hannah Culp
    Hannah Culp says:

    I am 14 and live in Louisiana. The test I took had three sections. Math, English, and IQ. 2 out of 3 gifted kids are ADD, ADHD, or dyslexia. I am ADD and dyslexia. I scored a 3 out of 4 on the IQ portion. Automatically putting me in gifted. I scored a 99.99% on my IQ. Some gifted kids are like me. We have large IQ and being in a gifted class means smaller classes meaning more attention which helps with my ADD. Hope this helps.

    Reply
  2. Isabella
    Isabella says:

    Hi, I’m sorry but I don’t think your article is accurate at all. I’m 15 and in gifted and my father works in an admissions office and it’s common for universities to prefer gifted students because of the way the think and how innovative they are. Anyone can get good grades but it takes a special type of person to be gifted. Another thing is your lack of sources in this article is astonishing. Not to mention “some school districts” doesn’t necessarily cover majority of them.

    Reply
    • Megan Dorsey
      Megan Dorsey says:

      The main point of this article is that colleges are looking at a student’s achievements, not the “label” he or she may have from school. Yes, innovative and passionate students are highly desirable. Not all of them have been identified as gifted.

      Reply
  3. Daniel
    Daniel says:

    Hey, It is highly ignorant for you to say that when you are doing so on technology built by gifted people. Your level of hatred towards the gifted is astonishingly high. Clear mark that you haven’t achieved anything in life. I suggest you stop making a living by tell the dumb masses what they want to hear.

    Reply
    • Megan Dorsey
      Megan Dorsey says:

      There are many ways we could define “gifts.” Really, all students have talents and interests and unfortunately we don’t have a school system which recognizes or rewards the diversity of ability in all students.

      Most schools or districts have a definition for “gifted and talented” (GT) which involves students performing significantly above average (usually measured in standard deviations above the norm on testing.) It is an issue that is frequently debated, so you may find different policies in your area.

      Typically, these students are different from their peers. They tend to be out-of-the-box thinkers and do not always do well in school as a result. The mistake in many places is to assume high achieving students and GT students are the same. They are not. Additionally, schools may only look at students with academic abilities, overlooking students with artistic, athletic, or creative gifts.

      Megan

      Reply
      • Daniel
        Daniel says:

        Hey, It is highly ignorant for you to say that when you are doing so on technology built by gifted people. Your level of hatred towards the gifted is astonishingly high. Clear mark that you haven’t achieved anything in life. I suggest you stop making a living by telling the dumb masses what they want to hear.

        Reply
  4. Michelle Stellick
    Michelle Stellick says:

    Thank you for this article. There is a lot if misunderstanding about GT programs and kids. As you clarify, they are not always the exceptional students. They learn differently. Both of my girls go to a charter school that specializes in GT learners and I was curious how this might affect them in high school and college. They are challenged at their learning level (whether that is above or below their grade level) and sometimes I worry that their grades, as they appear on the report card, will not translate well later when high school classes and programs are suggested .

    Reply
    • mdorsey
      mdorsey says:

      Thank you, Michelle. I find a lot of misunderstandings surrounding the entire topic of GT — from parents, students, teachers, and school districts. I’m glad you’ve found a school that works for your girls.

      When colleges evaluate applications, they try to see each student in the context of his or her own school and environment. If your charter school ranks students, colleges can quickly see how your girls compare to their peers at that school. Additionally, the charter school should send a school profile along with a transcript. This profile gives a snapshot of the school — classes offered, available programs, markers of student achievement, etc. Most schools with rigorous programs are eager to let colleges know that grades are EARNED not given and the level of learning is higher. College and university admissions representatives try to keep up with the different schools in their territory, so they may already know your school by reputation.

      Megan

      Reply
  5. Melodee Forbes
    Melodee Forbes says:

    Great advice! I really enjoyed this article! I was always annoyed by that guy who would brag about how he was in a “gifted and talented” class and I was not. Interestingly enough, he had mostly C’s and I graduated with honors (number 7). I think a lot of hype is made about the program and not enough emphasis on the actual work.

    Reply

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