How to set up procedures to select students for a talent program

How do you set up procedures to select students for a talent program?

See how alumni participation is added to the selection procedures for Honors Programs. 

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Involving alumni ensures that the new honors students fit with the program they are selected for. It also strengthens the connection between alumni students and their (former) university.

In the context of Honors Programs, teachers, managers and also students might ask themselves how to select students for an honors program in a fair and transparent way. Teachers searching for (new) ideas on how to make such selections can watch this video to see a best practice example of expanding the selection procedure by using the expertise of alumni.

If you do not have a clear method of how to select students, it becomes hard to explain the choices you make. Therefore, the video suggests a three step selection procedure:

1. Firstly, the aim of the talent program must be clear to both future participants and selectors. Then possible profiles of students who would fit into the program are developed.

2. Secondly, students hand in their application and are invited to an interview. The application can either be initiated by the students themselves or by their teachers.

3. Thirdly, the interview is based on guidelines, which have been developed beforehand, and alumni who already successfully participated in the program join the interview because they know about the benefits and possible challenges from a student perspective.

By letting alumni participate in the selection process the teachers’ work can be reduced. Furthermore, dropout rates can be lowered because the students who apply directly profit from the experiences other students have made before. Finally, the key for a successful selection process is good and open communication between teachers and alumni.

This three step selection procedure is a suggestion and should always be evaluated and adapted to the experiences of individual institutions.

Questions for reflection

1. What kind of talent program do you want to develop?

2. With which colleagues would you like to develop a talent program and why?

3. What kind of methods do you use to develop innovative education for your talented students?  

Steenman, Sebastiaan C.; Bakker, Wieger E. & van Tartwijk, Jan W. F. (2016). Predicting different grades in different ways for selective admission: disentangling the first-year grade point average. Studies in Higher Education 41, 8, p. 1408-1423.

International Centre of the Study of Giftedness at the Westphalian Wilhelms-University of Münster

Vivian Marielle van Gerven – Teacher Educational Sciences

Judith Wenker – Student of Teacher Training (subjects History & English)

Carolin Böckers – Student of Teacher Training (subjects English & Mathematics)

Pictures: Judith Wenker & Vivian M. van Gerven

Voice: Carolin Böckers

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