Educational psychologist, Dr. Deborah Ruf of Educational Options, will help you plan for the college education of your gifted child. A number of reasons why college planning can be difficult include the following:
• The family doubts that the college planning at their school is adequate for the needs and abilities of their student.
• The family wonders if the student is doing "enough" to qualify for a good school.
• The family is concerned that their student will "burn out" by doing too much to qualify for a good school.
• The student has been under-achieving or generally uncooperative.
• The student is unsure what interests to pursue.
• The student scores well but has basically dropped out of school.
• Family funds are limited and the family wants to know how to find scholarships and financial aid.
• The student is so uniquely talented that the family doesn't know which school(s) would provide the best support for his or her talents.
• It is time to find a social and emotional as well as academic "fit" for this gifted person.
As mentioned on other pages of this site, the social and emotional ramifications of different levels of giftedness affect how we select the colleges to which the student should apply. The post high school experience for gifted children, particularly highly, exceptionally, and profoundly gifted children, can be quite different from earlier schooling. Dr. Ruf guides both the parents and the gifted young person toward realistic expectations of what college life will be like. For example, the student's level of giftedness and the difficulty of the coursework pursued in high school will determine how shocking or possibly disappointing college work may feel. Some very gifted people enter college and are overwhelmed with all the new responsibilities and become depressed when they think they have somehow lost or over-estimated their abilities.
The number of post-secondary institutions of higher learning is truly remarkable. How to apply, what to emphasize in your college essays and applications, how to hunt for the right schools, are all among the steps Dr. Ruf is prepared to help families accomplish. Parents and the high school student should attend these consultation sessions together so that they can learn about all the options available regardless of their past performance and circumstances. Families of gifted students should schedule their first consultation by the time their student is starting high school so that Dr. Ruf can help both the student and parents know which sorts of things matter most and how to gradually prepare for the college application process.