Our approach has always been one that looks for detours to meeting an intractable or onerous issue head-on.

It's only that now, as we're nearly AT that point of departure from secondary, it's become increasingly apparent that our DD is not going to be able to really tolerate "high school, part II" as college.

She's at risk of dropping out, in our estimation, if we try that route, and NEEDS to be with a peer group which is at least 50% MG+ in order to survive.

Well, since that gets us into a tier of institutions which are 40K+ and who frequently rely on branding to justify not offering merit aid, we're looking fairly critically at what the demographics are ACTUALLY like at institutions of higher learning, and considering how much of it is the result of prepping/hyping and what percentile in ability is going to feel comfortable or tolerable to our DD, and knowing that she is still accelerating in her ability, but not knowing where/when that is likely to plateau again.

What we're finding is kind of depressing, actually. Partly this is a problem which is related to our DD's personal learning style and personality, and partly it's related to an unchecked arms race which has been playing out since the early 1990's.

It's very, very different now. It is. The level of 'crazy' to which some parents are willing to go to make their kids APPEAR to be PG... is kind of difficult to overstate. To go head to head, you have to have both know-how and a certain ruthlessness that my family mostly lacks, I think. I'm envious of parents like ElizabethN, Bostonian, and Wren who have insider knowledge, and I'm really grateful that they are willing to share it so freely here. smile

RE: my remark about flightless birds... it's not a slam against the penguins. Please. I hardly said that those students aren't college material. Elitist or not, kids who are MG are not capable of providing the kind of intellectual peer group that my DD seems to be in desperate search of at this point in time. She is weary of pretending to be a penguin. We felt quite differently about this as little ago as a year back, and were planning to avoid the entire scene, thinking that she'd gravitate to 'her people' in college, end of story. That changed radically in light of a few data points collected over the past year-- unsettling things that point to a profound dissatisfaction with the level to which the most capable of the 'penguins' can go, resulting in bitter disappointment which she turns INWARD into maladaptive coping and self-loathing for her "freakish" nature as a result of her intellect. She knows that most people cannot keep up with her. She also knows that isn't their fault, and they are trying, and that most of them are reasonably decent people, in spite of how frustrating it is to her. The problem with our previous plan is that it was predicated on any given college campus having a viable number of people as a peer group-- and we're rapidly being forced to revise the notion that such a thing will be true on any college campus she attends. It won't be. College is now High School, part II. That's the problem; the solution is to figure out where college is NOT merely more high school. Surely not every college and university has sold its soul, right?

She needs for college to be different.

Our concern there relates to the fact that we don't see this doing anything but intensifying over the next few years. Her development seems to be hitting overdrive again, and as she matures, she is even more frighteningly capable as the asynchrony (which drove some of her weaknesses in executive function) vanishes. We're now looking at things with hindsight and realizing that perhaps keeping her in high school was the wrong move, even though it seemed like a good idea at the time. Darn. She'd probably be better off in the next two years if she were finishing a Bachelor's and looking toward grad programs instead, since those tend to be the people she is gravitating to (and likewise) in her internship. The undergraduates and the other interns? Not-so-much. She humors them by dropping into low gear. But she's clearly more than ready for higher demand, and frankly has chafed that her fellow interns can't keep up well enough for the project to really take off and be as demanding and interesting as it otherwise might have been. She feels sorry for kids who are Tiger Cubs. Seriously.

Jon is absolutely right-- the slice of higher ed which is authentic for kids like this is getting smaller and smaller.

I'm still hunting for a way to minimize exposure to Tiger Kids/Parents while meeting our DD's needs. But I'm not coming up with a lot of great solutions. Places like MIT, quite honestly, seem like a good fit for her-- providing that they are the way that they seem. That's not a small matter, incidentally. There are some big name institutions which are not the kind of quality that they were 20 years ago-- the trouble is figuring out how to read between the lines in the press releases and marketing.

That's the other part of the problem. Just like with GT programs and educational initiatives, there is a TON of spin-doctoring happening on the institutional side of things as well as the parent/student applicant side.

Ultimately, this may make living internationally more appealing in spite of the obvious down sides.

Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.