Book Review – College Planning for Gifted Students


College Planning for Gifted Students: Choosing and Getting Into the Right College

by Sandra L. Berger
Prufrock Press Inc.
available in paperback, PDF, bundled and digital formats
ISBN-13: 978-1-61821-147-7

Publisher’s Description:

College Planning for Gifted Students: Choosing and Getting Into the Right College is a must-have for any gifted or advanced learner planning to attend college. Sandra Berger, a nationally recognized expert on college and career planning for gifted students, provides a hands-on, practical guide to college planning in this updated edition of the best-selling College Planning for Gifted Students.

Berger focuses specifically on helping gifted students discover who they are and how that discovery corresponds to the perfect postsecondary endeavor. The author also provides useful, practical advice for writing college application essays, requesting recommendation letters, visiting colleges, and acing the college entrance interview. Throughout the book, helpful timelines and checklists are provided to give students and their parents, teachers, and counselors assistance in planning for and choosing the right college.

Grades 9–12

Reviewed by Elaine S. Wiener

click here for the PDF version of this article

Where was this book when my children were starting college?

“College Planning” is as interesting and pertinent as it would be if we were all starting out to find the right school. This could be your ticket to planning a life!

This is a Prufrock book. That means that there are the most wonderful charts and graphs and darkened paragraphs of conversations. There are many good publishers, but Prufrock owns the ability to consolidate and label information in a way that appeals to one’s brain as well as one’s habits of organization. This book is a perfect guide to all colleges.

There are seven pages of references. Appendex A has pages of Early Entrance College Programs. Appendix B has College Planning Web Resources. This alone makes “College Planning” a priceless gift.

“College planning is a major event in the lives of many families…

Only in America is the decal from almost any college displayed proudly on the rear window of the family car…In the 21st century, attending college is part of the American success story.”

“The statistics remain consistent as the years go by and the cost of college increases. Yet, in a 2011 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans (57%) said the higher education system in the United States fails for the money they and their families spend. An even larger majority—75%—said college is too expensive for most Americans to afford. (Cohn, 2011,2013).

Despite what seems like the facts, there is a psychological reason that people want college degrees: there is status, there is respect, and there is tremendous self-pride in accomplishing the work. Even though the general consensus is that college is a waste of money, people who have degrees take pride in that, and people who do not have college degrees secretly wish they did. It is a rationalization that uneducated people toss around, saying that an education is unimportant. It is a fool’s justification of self-failure.

One does NOT need to go to expensive schools; there are plenty of inexpensive schools where teachers care about their students and young people can learn. And one does not need an education if one does NOT want one, but putting down others who DO have degrees is not seemly. Jeanne Delp, the mother of gifted education used to have a favorite maxim: “When what you are makes others reflect upon what they are not, you get hostility.”

Sandra L. Berger says that “A college education gives us courage to try new things, fosters our imagination to create new things, and gives us the freedom to think critically about everything we will ever see or hear in our lifetimes.” Why wouldn’t anyone want that?

“College Planning for Gifted Students” is a perfect guide which lists what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. I can’t imagine any student going to college without these lists of guidelines.

ElaineElaine S. Wiener is Associate Editor for Book Reviews for the Gifted Education Communicator.

She is retired from the Garden Grove Unified School District GATE program and can be reached at


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