Your gifted child and the college application process

Upper school director Robert K. Cooke, MEd's explains how your gifted child can work through the college application process to highlight their special talents.
Your gifted child and the college application process | Kids in the House
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

Your gifted child and the college application process

Students who have a particular passion and talent in areas that maybe aren't traditional academic areas, so it may be the arts of some kind, performing arts, or maybe in athletics - those students have a different application process to go through for college. And it's important that families know what that process looks like. As a few examples, the sports process for instance typically starts maybe as much as half a year earlier than it does for other students. So while most juniors are taking their standardized in March of their junior year, athletes should not be taking the ACT or SAT later than maybe January of their junior year. There's also a heavy recruitment process, even for students who are playing at the Division III level. They're working with a coach at various colleges and universities who is going to help students prepare the admissions packet, and then maybe even walk that packet over the admissions office to talk to admissions about the importance of admitting that athlete. Similarly the arts have a different process. Students who are interested in the visual arts need to be working on creating a portfolio. And then that portfolio needs to be shared with colleges often earlier than the normal application deadline. There are things that students can do to help them with that as well. So even if they don't have a trusted adviser who can look at their artwork and give them feedback most colleges and universities will give an early read on portfolios and can give advice on whether work needs to be done to improve the portfolio. Similarly there's something called the National Portfolio Day where colleges and universities travel the nation and will actually look at students' visual art and give it feedback. You can show it to 10-15-20 different colleges and universities in a very short span of time. Performing artists have another different process where they're actually auditioning. And there are national auditions so that they can go to a centralized location and maybe audition for multiple colleges and universities. But not all colleges participate in that. So it may be that they actually need to travel and audition in big cities or at the actual college or university that they're interested in. All of this is to say that it's a very different process for those artists or those athletes. And they need some really good advice either from their college admissions help, their college counselors at their high school, or maybe from the college that they're interested in to really get feedback on what they should be doing, what the deadlines are, and how they can improve their chances of being admitted.

Upper school director Robert K. Cooke, MEd's explains how your gifted child can work through the college application process to highlight their special talents.


Expert Bio

More from Expert

Robert K. Cooke, MEd

Upper School Director

Robert has been in K-12 education for thirty years; for sixteen years he was a high school history and social studies teacher, teaching subjects such as AP US History, Western Civilization, World History, Economics, and Anthropology. His school administrative career has been equally varied, serving as Director of Activities at a large public high school, and a Middle School Director and Upper School Director at independent (private) schools in the Midwest and California. Robert earned his Bachelor's Degree in History from Carleton College, and his Master's in Education from Claremont Graduate University. He is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Robert has served on school accreditation teams in the Midwest and California. He has two children, one of whom is an acting and English Literature double major at a large urban university on the East Coast, while the other is a high school junior in Los Angeles.


More Parenting Videos from Robert K. Cooke, MEd >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter