Guest Author - Lorel Shea
THINK Summer Institute is a selective academic program for profoundly gifted teens. Run by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, THINK is an intensive three week experience that allows participants to earn up to seven college credits. Each student takes two classes taught by University of Reno professors. This year's courses include English, Economics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Geology, and Psychology. THINK counselors escort kids to and from classes and the dining hall, and supervise a plethora of engaging free time activities. Students live in dormitories on the University of Reno campus and are able to get a taste of college life immersion style. For some, this may be the first chance to really stretch their intellectual muscles, and work at a pace and level that is appropriately challenging.
Linda Nielson's son returned to THINK this year, after having a fantastic experience there last summer. She shares, “Ben said it was the best three weeks of his life. He made several new best friends, and felt an immediate kinship with the other THINKERS. Many of the kids return year after year, and the staff tries to pair each newbie with a returning student for a roommate. Kids seem to integrate into the group quickly, and it is an inclusive community. They have a nice balance between work and play, with six hours of classes per day and a lot of cool stuff to do in the off hours.”
Survey results obtained after the program speak volumes:
91% of attendees say THINK helped them to feel more confident as a student
100% developed a new friendship
94% said they now had a clearer understanding about what to expect in college
94% said they would return if given the opportunity
100% said the experience was positive
Designed specifically for kids in the 99.9th percentile, it is clear that the program meets academic needs. But what is also remarkable is that is facilitates bonding between kids who are not apt to have a lot of true peers in their day to day life. Profoundly gifted kids need the chance to get to know others like themselves.
What does it take to get accepted into THINK? All applicants must be between the ages of 13-16, regardless of aptitude. THINK used to accept 12 year olds, and they have recently amended their policies to a 13 year minimum. Students must also either be citizens or permanent residents of the US. Each applicant must furnish two letters of recommendation. Additionally, test scores from the ACT or SAT must meet entry requirements.
THINK is an outstanding program for exceptionally gifted and motivated students, which I am very happy to recommend.