I would begin by directing my student and his/her family to look carefully at the experiences of other families that have gone through the early college option. The book contains some great feedback from families whose children entered college early. These are found on pages 44-56. I would also direct them to explore the Davidson Institute for Talent Development guidebooks on this topic (page 39). I would also be sure to reiterate Nancy Robinson’s advice on page 43. Specifically, I would remind them to fully explore the “right reasons” that she refers to and make sure that they don’t do early college for the “wrong reasons”-- the wrong reasons being for prestige in the parents’ or students’ eyes.
I would direct them to pages 58-60 where the students made a list of things for students to consider before entering college on a full-time basis. I would also direct them to the quote on page 68, " although students measured success partially on the basis of their academic performance in college, a number of them alluded to the importance of social and emotional growth." Many of my g/t students are able to make a's without studying, however when they get to college they need to understand that they may have to study and they may not make the easy a's but success is also measured on social and emotional growth.
2. The advice I would give students as a classroom teacher are reflected in the first question. First make a decision that you feel is the best for you. Don’t let anyone force their perceptions and ideas on you; it won’t work in the long run. Second I would let the students know that if the first decision happens to not work out it is no big deal, go back and fix it and make a better decision the second time, or even the third or fourth time. I have had GT students that were accelerated through high school and college and changed their career path several time along the way. And these students appear to have turned out just fine; they are happy well adjusted young adults. No matter how smart these kids are they are still kids with their whole life in front of them. They need to take a little time and have a real life along the way. I felt that this was a lot of what the comments were saying in this section. The two best comments were on page 90 and 91: “Rather than running away from a high school environment where they lack friends or any interest in school work, successful early college students usually enter college for positive reasons” and “Is the student a running away from something in [his or her] school or [his or her] age-group (something environmental) or [is he or she] running away from something in [him- or herself] (something interpersonal)? The best result seems to be when students are running to something instead of away from something.
I agree with mixkid's comment about the information from students on pages 58 - 60 where students give their feed back. No matter how concerned or how dedicated a parent is, it is the student that is going to have to do the work and live in the college environment, and college has changed a lot since we (parents) were in school. The comment on page 59 "doesn't know how to manage [his or her] time." speaks volumes. The maturity level has to be there or students won't be successful. They can take a lot of thinks to college with them, but they can't bring their mom along to take care of them.
As an educator I would first advice my student contemplating entering an early college entrance program to simply talk about what pros and cons she or he may have thought of. Sometimes just hearing ourselves talk things thru helps to put things in perspective or provides us with an “ah-ha” moment. Next, I would guide the student in reviewing research on such early entrance programs, lend them or give them a copy of the book we are reading and facilitate access to the Davidson Institute for Talent Development guidebook (page 39). The book mentions that these gifted students would benefit greatly from “learning about experiences of other families who have made their choice to have one or more of their children enter college early” but what if they do not know where to begin or have access to these families? I would contact a counselor at the middle school, high school and college level (specifically an academic counselor or director within an early college entrance program) and arrange a meeting with students who are currently in this type of program and students who lived the experience and their respective parents. This would allow for the student and his or her parents to ask questions and receive advice from someone who is living it or has lived thru the experience. It is safe to say that many of my students are first generation students in this country and probably do not have relatives who live here or with college degrees. It is important for a student and his o her parents not to feel alone during this delicate decision making. Lastly, after all avenues have been exhausted I would advise my student to “follow your gut feeling” as stated by Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius (page 42).
I would suggest that they read this book. I especially would point them to p. 64-93. On p. 65-72, the author helps the student to decide what her personal idea of success means. On, p. 87, it says "Those who take responsibility for their learning are in a much stronger osition to make the most out of college". They need good study habits and time organization is necessary to success. Also, a focus that will not be distracted is a necessity.
The suggestion to pursue the Davidson Institute resources (p. 39) is excellent, as are the various student and parent commentaries. I would also advise that the student and their parents take the list on page 55, 56 & 57 and answer every question with great honesty. In these days of uber helicopter parents it's common to find normal age college students who couldn't answer "no" to all these questions, much less a student who is only 15 or 16. Her freshman year, my daughter discovered she was the only one on her dorm who knew how to run a washing machine.
In response to JCanon’s posting on June 18,I agree with you when you wrote: “They need good study habits and time organization is necessary to success. Also, a focus that will not be distracted is a necessity.”This is so true! As we always tell our kids, the world is filled with very smart people, but you must have perseverance and know how to work hard. Organization and time management are the keys to succeeding at any level of education, but especially during college, where dynamics change tremendously. My college sophomore son tells me that most students at his university are very good at this. When the stakes are high, you really have no room for procrastination or bad time management or organizational skills.
In response to PKassir's comment on June 14th, I agree that parents need to read pages 44-56. I found it very interesting to read the parent's perception of how well their child adjusted to college. No parent knows what to expect but reading it first-hand from other parents who have had the same experience can give you an idea of what to expect. Of course, every student is different but reading someone else's experience can help to alleviate some of the fears that parents may have
I think all of chapter five really sum up what I would say. Each kid is different, and they really need to gather many opinions about who they really are. For example, if a kid is a hard worker, but as the one kid at the bottom of page 87 stated, " I probably studies an hour a week..." Kids who are considering this need to know that this is not high school. Personally I feel that any kid considering this MUST attend a class at a local university first. Learn what it is like before jumping in with both feet.
Good suggestion Jeff (your comment on a child attending a class at a local University first). An on line course might be another option for those students who don't live within commuting distance of a University.
Kassir, I agree with you about organization and time management are very important. It doesn't matter how smart the student is, if they can't get their work turned in on time they aren't going to do well in school.
On page 60, I think the statement that refers to a love for learning would be necessary in order to enter college early says a lot to me. The gifted students we work with are clearly gifted in many different ways but when they truly exhibit a love for learning, you recognize that and acknowledge that as a teacher. Intrinsically they are motivated. They want more and more challenges and appreciate the higher level of thinking. To those who have this love for learning, I say “Go for it!” Of course there are other factors to consider before I would recommend early entrance. A student must be emotionally and socially capable of functioning in an environment where they are younger. If they are strong and stable cognitively, socially, (examples given on pages 81-83) and emotionally (ex. Given on page 71 and 73) and they have the love for learning, they should pursue the early entrance.
jcanon hit it right on the nail about having good study habits and time management skills, especially for an early entrance candidate.
As an educator, I would want to be quite certain that my recommendation for early entrance to college was based upon an all round assessment of this student’s ability to handle such a decision. An assessment of the student’s academics, emotional maturity, and their parents’ concerns must be taken into consideration. As noted on page 80, sometimes a student has the academic ability to handle the higher educational benefits of college, but if their study habits are poor or their ego is too big, their over-confidence of being successful in college will surely not be a reality. Study habits are so important and it takes a lot of skill to be able to handle the work load of college. If those study skills are not exceptional, then I would not recommend early entrance even given their giftedness. On page 60, students may lack the internal resources to function independently as would be necessary for college work.
Viadero's obeservation pannel opened my eyes that "most students, typically waste their senior year" (Muratori 2). As an educator, my answer would be based on research findings across the board. According to Dr. Muratori, the "child's academic adjustment and social and emotional adjustment perception" weigh heavy when determining a positive or negative experience from early college entrance (56). Before even making any suggestions, I would ask the student what he or she thought and why early college entrance is even being considered. I suspect the answer would be focused on success, but how success is measured is a key factor in obtaining it through early college entrance (67-70). Those students who are merely tryin to escape the high school awkardness versus those who are seeking out a challending curriculum opening uncharted warter for intectual advancement will make all the difference when making this decision (91).
In response to jcanon, I agree with you that good study habits such as note taking skills and strategies, time management, organizational skills, networking, knowing where to find support and resources, etc. are essential to being academically successful. Assuming that the student made the choice of entering college early I would advise a student to make classroom acquaintances right away and establish study groups with other students who are genuinely vested in their learning and academic advancement. College is about taking initiative; don’t be afraid to ask questions. Lastly, I would encourage the student to introduce himself or herself to the professor.
I would tell my student to research everything! Ask questions. Have your parents involved. See what other kids that have entered college early have to say about their experience.I think that it would also be useful to formulate some questions for the family to go through. I really liked the ones beginning on page 56-59. It might be useful to have the parents answer the questions independently of the child and have the child do the same.
Along with the social issues a student might face, he would also have to be aware that he would probably be much more challenged in terms of the level and amount of work required of him in college (pg. 57). It is also wise to keep in mind that people's experiences, expectations, and outcomes vary so widely that is important to keep in mind what an individual decision this has to be, as evidenced by the students' perceptions of success discussed on pages 69-72. There is no quick and easy decision and what worked for someone else may not work for you.
Time management, and procrastination would be a major point of advice. ( can you see when I am finishing this lesson?) In Chapter 5 on pages 75 & 76 there were several references to time management,organization,and procrastination,Talking to other students about their experiences seems very valuable and on page 59, the reference if you are already failing in high school, college probably is not the answer
In respone to PKassir ( first comment) Several years ago when I was at Northbrook I had several students sign up for the TAMS program in their junior year. Since they were an interconnected GT group, the students did share experiences with the younger students and their parents were able to get reliable, first hand information. In all of the cases I had the students were very successful in the program. --
I really think we all said the same thing, "this isn't Kansas Dorathy." If your study habits are poor than the extra year in high school would do you some good. Students, parents, teachers, everyone, needs to work together if early entrance into college is going to be successful.
CWinegar, You are exactly right about the rigorous course work associated with early entrance. Some high school educators tend to allow class time to complete assignments rather than give homework out of fear the work won't be completed resulting in failing grades. And when outside work is assgined, it is so frivilous the intelligent students usually just copy from one another. Early entrance students will be expected to meet the rigourous expectations geared to their ability rather than blanket assignments given to all students
in response to P. Kassir posted on June 14 - I agree with directing the students to outside sources for help and making sure that they are going for the right reasons. I think that it is extremely important for students to understand why they want to go to college early.
I agree with susand, June 21, 2011, when she said "if their study habits are poor or their ego is too big, their over-confidence of being successful in college will surely not be a reality". At times, GT students can find themselves in over their head because they compare themselves to their peers, and when they see that they stand out in comparison, they are surprised when challenges overwhelm them. They become frustrated and it really rocks them.