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Enrichment Activities for Gifted High School Students

Gifted Resources

High school is often when students discover more about themselves and their interests. This is especially true for gifted students. Enrichment activities—also known as learning experiences that extend beyond the typical classroom curriculum—provide the intellectual challenge and stimulation that these students often crave, but may not find in standard coursework. It also gives them opportunities to tap into their creative sides and explore different cultures.

The Social & Emotional Benefits of Enrichment

More than advancing gifted students’ academic needs, participating in enrichment activities supports their social and emotional development in multiple ways:

  • Strengthening their communication and collaboration skills
  • Connecting with like-minded peers over shared interests
  • Experiencing a greater sense of belonging
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Building self-confidence
  • Enhancing their overall emotional intelligence

All of these skills contribute to the overall well-being of gifted high school students and their success inside and outside of the classroom.

Types of Enrichment Activities for Gifted High School Students

Gifted high school students require enrichment activities that enable them to learn more about their passions, to be intellectually challenged, and to build relationships with like-minded individuals. These activities can take various forms, both within and outside of school. Thanks to the rise of online learning, enrichment activities are even readily available through virtual programs.

In-School Programs

Enrichment for gifted high school students during school looks like advanced courses and curriculum designed for this population. Traditional schools frequently lack the appropriate academic challenges these individuals need to thrive. There are alternative types of schooling, such as Gifted & Talented Education (GATE), magnet schools, and pull-out programs, that better support gifted students’ needs and abilities. They provide an intellectually stimulating environment that challenges them, preventing boredom and underachievement.

Research and independent projects are more common in coursework developed for gifted high school students. This gives them a chance to dive into topics they care about more deeply, leading to a more personalized and meaningful experience. Additionally, teachers go through the core curriculum at an accelerated pace, supporting how these individuals learn.

Out-of-School Activities

Another helpful way to engage gifted high school students in enrichment activities is finding activities that take place outside of the classroom. Weekend programs and summer camps are great options for individuals who want to stay connected with or meet more peers and continue their education when school isn’t in session.

Weekend enrichment programs may take several forms, the most common being one-off events or extended exploration of a topic. Some examples of weekend activities are:

  • One-day workshops
  • A three-month course in a particular field with a local organization
  • A quarterly lecture series hosted by an industry expert

Perhaps there aren’t any out-of-school events like these happening near you or maybe school’s out for the summer. Luckily, gifted high school students can find enrichment at seasonal camps. Although it depends on the specific program, these camps can focus on specific subjects—such as STEM, humanities, or the arts—offering hands-on experiences that go beyond the classroom. Besides the actual material, these types of enrichment activities offer opportunities for exploration, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving.

Online Programs

In the past, types of enrichment for gifted high school students varied depending on what was available at their school and in the area where they live. Now, people have greater access because of the internet and remote work/learning growing in popularity.

If a student wants to hone in on a particular field, there are online enrichment courses—whether they are self-paced and instructor-led—can be taken after school, during the weekend, or over summer. Davidson Academy Online, for instance, offers a full academic-year’s worth of curriculum as well as single-enrollment courses. This gives gifted high school students more flexibility in how to bolster their education.

Davidson Academy’s Approach to Enrichment

Davidson Academy offers a curriculum designed for profoundly gifted students in middle and high school. Unlike traditional school settings, our classes group students by ability rather than age. We create a community that fosters both academic excellence and social-emotional growth, ensuring gifted high school students reach their full potential.

Enrichment Opportunities Offered Through Davidson Academy & Davidson Institute

More than coursework, Davidson Academy and Davidson Institute offer a wide array of enrichment activities.

Davidson Academy

One of the best ways for gifted high school students to engage in enrichment and create lasting connections at Davidson Academy is through our club activities and extracurriculars. A few of these include:

  • Sports clubs (Basketball)
  • Class-specific clubs (Science Bowl, Math Club, etc.)
  • Career-centric activities (Mock Trial, Engineering Club, Future Physicians Club, etc.)
  • Hobby-related clubs (Book Club, Dungeons & Dragons, Chess Club, etc.)
  • Gender and diversity clubs (LGBTQIA+)

Davidson Institute

Davidson Institute is the overarching nonprofit foundation of Davidson Academy, and was created to serve our nation’s most gifted and talented young people.

  • THINK Summer Institute is a three-week residential experience with the chance to earn college credit for highly gifted students ages 13-16.
  • REACH Summer Seminar provides an academically challenging residential experience amongst intellectual peers for our Young Scholars ages 11-13.
  • STARS Summer Camp is a five-day residential gifted summer program focused on supporting the academic and social needs of Young Scholars ages 8-11.
  • The Young Scholar Program offers two-fold enrichment. The program itself supports Young Scholars ages 5-18 and their families by connecting them to resources and a community of like-minded peers. By joining this program, gifted students have access to other opportunities, including the Ambassador Program and Annual Summit.

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