Since 1980, the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) has been helping parents, educators and students to better enhance and maximize their "innate gifted potential." Emily Swartzlander, Marketing Manager for Duke TIP, graciously shares information for parents willing to "go that extra mile" to nurture their child's giftedness.
A. Duke TIP is a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying, recognizing, and supporting academically talented students. Since 1980, more than 2.5 million students have participated in our programs, which include talent searches to identify gifted youth; dynamic educational experiences on the Duke University campus, throughout the United States, and abroad; independent and distance learning opportunities; and resources for parents and educators.
Kids can benefit from Duke TIP in a variety of ways. First, we offer above-level testing through both the 4th-6th Grade Talent Search and the 7th Grade Talent Search. Above-level testing is important because it provides helpful insight into a student's academic abilities and allows students, parents, and educators to more effectively plan educational experiences for their gifted student.
We also offer a variety of renowned on-site and distance learning educational programs that challenge and engage gifted learners. And for parents and educators, we provide resources such as articles about working with and advocating for your gifted child, along with on-staff experts who can give one-on-one advice.
Q2. Should parents be proactive in regards to contacting Duke TIP, particularly if the school is not forthcoming with information on how to apply? Should a parent be proactive earlier for the 4th grade vs. the 7th grade?
A. We absolutely support parents who want to proactively advocate for their child, and we encourage enrollment both through your school and on your own. To determine if your child qualifies for one of our talent searches, you can visit our website (click here for 4th-6th Grade Talent Search qualifying test scores and here for 7th Grade Talent Search test scores).
In terms of timing, we don't promote one talent search over the other. Our goal of course, is to help as many students as possible, but the searches are different enough with their benefits that we recommend checking out both programs to see which is right for you. Parents or educators do need to re-enroll their student in the 7th Grade Talent Search even if he or she was a 4th-6th Grade Talent Search participant.
Q3. How competitive is the program in terms of number of applicants vs. acceptance into the program?
A. If a student qualifies for one of our talent searches, he or she will be accepted into the search. Our educational programs do have additional requirements, and not all students who apply are able to attend. However, the percentage is dependent on the number of students who apply for our programs each year.
Q4. Some programs might be considered expensive for families of modest means. Can you explain Duke TIP's financial aid process and how parents might apply?
A. Our goal is to help students regardless of financial circumstances. We offer fee waivers and need-based financial aid to both talent searches and all educational programs except for our international Field Studies. This year, we will give out more than $3 million in aid to thousands of students.
Each program has a separate financial aid application that parents must fill out when they apply. Our website http://www.tip.duke.edu/ details instructions for all financial aid requests.
A. We offer a number of online resources for both parents and students:
--As part of our 4th-6th Grade Talent Search, students can access free, online lessons in several different subjects that are designed to challenge gifted students. They also can participate in an online book club, where they can read and discuss books with TIP participants from across the country.
--Participants in both the 4th-5th Grade Talent Search and the 7th Grade Talent Search receive online publications that include articles and tips on achieving a student's maximum potential in school, along with videos and interviews from college admissions officers, other TIP students, and experts in the field of gifted education.
--For parents, we offer Digest of Gifted Research, an online journal of research-based articles about raising and educating academically talented children.
--Beyond the talent search benefits, families can purchase an online independent learning course that will allow them to learn at their own pace anytime, anywhere (www.tip.duke.edu/learn). Qualifying students in the eighth through twelfth grades can also sign up for one of our distance learning courses, which provide academic coursework in a virtual learning environment, connecting students, teachers, and ideas in a dynamic online classroom.
Q6. It's been stated that kids-of-colors are often overlooked when it comes to being identified as "gifted." Are there any initiatives sponsored by Duke TIP, or other programs, that are addressing this concern?
A. Yes! We partner with two organizations that work with high potential students of diverse backgrounds:
--The Next Generation Venture Fund (NGVF), a collaborative venture of Duke TIP, the Northwestern University Center for Talent Development (CTD), and the Center for Bright Kids (CBK), builds a pipeline of opportunities beginning in middle school and continuing to college and to leadership careers. NGVF offers financial assistance, enrichment opportunities, and academic resources to qualified eighth grade students, and continues to provide such services through their remaining pre-college years. The goal of the NGVF Program is admission and enrollment into selective colleges and universities.
--We also partner with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (JKCF), a regional talent search center for the JKCF Young Scholars Program. The foundation selects high-achieving youth with financial need to work closely with the foundation's educational advisors to choose and design academic services focused on the students' unique educational needs, special talents, and highest potential. The program provides the students with individualized educational services, potentially through their entire high-school career, that will enable them to fully develop their talents and abilities.
Q7. What is Duke TIP's position on the "nature versus nurture" debate?
A. While we don't have an official stance on "nature versus nurture," our programs definitely focus on nurturing talent. We also take a look at the debate in our Digest of Gifted Research articles. Here are two in particular I think might have some interesting information: www.tip.duke.edu/node/888 and www.tip.duke.edu/node/887.
If you know of a child who can fully benefit from all that the Duke TIP Program offers, visit their website at http://www.tip.duke.edu/ to get the process started.
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