Many people come to me about planning for college. Unfortunately, their children are often already in the last years of high school.
If you are the parent of a gifted child, you need to start planning for college the moment they are identified. As a substitute teacher in gifted classes, I regularly brought up the subject with elementary students. Some parents balked at this being a topic of discussion. My advice to them was, "Just wait. You'll wish you had started planning now!"
Most gifted children develop asynchronously; intellectual level not being in sync with maturity level. While playing with Barbie or the latest video game, they are just as comfortable discussing what they'd like to study in college and where. They can enjoy both activities without missing a beat in their social-emotional development.
As the years go by, you will recognize whether your child is an academic overachiever, a gifted underachiever, or somewhere in between. Understanding your child is key to planning for college.
Gifted parents need to educate themselves about the college admissions process. Some things to consider are your ability to pay for college in 10 to 12 years, academic scholarships and grants, understanding the role of a school's endowments and how they affect the cost of attendance, and the branding of your gifted child to achieve recognition from the best universities.
Your child may be brilliant. However, if you don't take the time to research this issue, you may loose out on many financial opportunities and ultimately risk your child's ability to attend the college of their choice.
Plan now or pay later. This becomes just another facet of your job description as the parent of a gifted child.