With over a million gifted girls in the United States, it’s time to rethink holding them back for “socialization” when accelerating their education to innovating their curiosity and ability to learn, setting up and establishing their careers, and having time to raise a family will give them extraordinary advantages for the rest of their lives. Naturally, this is not for every girl. But for those girls who are truly gifted, it allows them to have the lifestyle that want and deserve, on a timeline that works for them.
When exceptionally gifted girls remain with their peers through high school, they typically underachieve and lose motivation, become anxious, and succumb to low self-esteem. Classes are boring and homework is an exercise in busy work and brain-numbing obedience. But according to Maureen Neihart, “The Socioaffective Impact of Acceleration and Ability Grouping: Recommendations for Best Practice,” girls who engage in accelerated programs and college classes actually produces social-emotional gains for these gifted and talented students.
It would be ideal for gifted girls to move ahead together in small groups so they can support one another’s social and emotional needs in a high school or college setting. That’s why I opened Merit Academy back in 1994. My goal was to give both of my daughters that opportunity to develop intellectually, academically, and socio-emotionally in small groups and later in one-on-one classes at Merit. I found that they engaged with their teachers and learned a wider breadth and depth in each of their subjects – something I’m certain they wouldn’t have received in a regular class setting.
For gifted girls who might graduate from high school at age 14, graduate from college at 18, and receive their PhD at age 22, they have the opportunity to be fully immersed in their studies and practice their expertise and establish their careers by the time they can settled down to get married and start a family. Women who have followed this path find that they’re more successful, land professional careers, and have plenty of time to raise a family without the burden of being in medical school while raising a young family. By accelerating gifted girls’ education, we can break the glass ceiling and women might be able to finally join the ranks of the top positions in every field – something that has been missing in every board room in corporate America.