It is critical that families take notice.
As a psychologist who works with teens, I have witnessed countless situations where families have relied upon the schools to guide their children, only to feel misled and disappointed. Some parents also assume that their children are capable of selecting colleges on their own. Remember, these are 17-year-olds, who often cannot decide what to wear in the morning! Their awareness of the world may not extend much beyond their immediate surroundings, and their fantasies about far-off universities can be unrealistic.
Your involvement in the college decision process does not make you a helicopter parent - it is wise parenting, and especially important when your money and your child's well-being and future academic needs are at stake.
It is essential to become informed once your child starts high school. There are many articles online that offer tips about college admission, but sometimes offer well-worn advice, or may describe a particular child's experience. Instead, the ten articles selected below include "no frills, tell-it-like-it is" advice about college planning (including a few of my own blog posts), along with the college admission process, and the unique needs of gifted students.
Ten essential tips to help your gifted teen plan for college
"With all of the competition, uncertainty and financial risk involved, gifted children need as much advice and support as any other child. And sometimes the stakes are even higher, given the potential for merit scholarships, and the importance of finding a college community of like-minded peers."
The disconnect between what colleges say and what students hear
"Colleges and universities today flood the mailboxes of high school students with materials about their offerings - and some students take that as a message that the school has identified them as someone who they want to admit. That's entirely wrong..."
What colleges want in an applicant (everything)
"...colleges where seats are scarce stir up the nation's emotions. Each year, the world-famous institutions reject thousands and thousands of students who could thrive there."
Five tips gifted students need to consider when choosing a college
"Most gifted teens look to college as an escape from the boredom of high school. And finding one that provides the right mix of social fit, geographic proximity to home, and extra-curricular needs is critical to ensuring a student's comfort and well-being. But the strength of the school's academic climate is equally important."
List of colleges that meet 100% of financial need
"If your family will need to depend on financial aid to attend college, your best bet is to find a school that will offer an excellent financial aid package to your child."
Five reasons to consider an elite college (and they're not what you think)
"...an elite college may offer the best fit for some gifted teens in search of a challenging education. They should not be discounted in response to media critique or disparagement."
"...most didn't think that the advice was especially helpful. Maybe it's because much of the conventional thinking about majors is wrong."
"Get informed, learn as much as you can about colleges, know what your child needs, and use caution when following advice..."
April 1st is no joke for some gifted high school seniors
"April 1 can seem like consolation day for many gifted high school seniors. And it's no joke... Why do so many gifted children get rejected from colleges they are presumably qualified to attend?"
Sending your gifted child to college: Providing support when fears arise
"Along with the all too common worries about making new friends, dating, academics and fighting with roommates, gifted college freshman can harbor some particular questions and fears."
Plan ahead and with confidence by getting informed, staying involved, and communicating regularly with your child. No one in the school knows your child like you do, so don't expect guidance counselors and teachers to provide the answers. And don't wait until 11th grade. Your child will benefit the most from your caring, guidance and clarity about such an enormous decision.