College Transition Can Be Trying for 2e Kids

The transition to college is challenging for everyone, and there is no quick and easy way to make it “better” or “successful.” This is especially true for twice-exceptional learners. With the school year ending and seniors in high school preparing to embark on this transition, discussing the challenges 2e students might face seems timely.

I approach this topic from multiple perspectives, writing not only as an expert in educational psychology, but also as someone identified as twice-exceptional when I was in fifth grade. [If you are interested in reading about my journey as a 2e individual, please see Baum, S., Renzulli, S., & Rizza, M. (2015)].

High school wasn’t always easy for me, but by my senior year I had finally achieved both academic and social success. I thought I had everything figured out and that I knew better than my academic counselors, teachers, and most of all, my parents (who are both professors of educational psychology). I entered my freshman year at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and disregarded every piece of academic advice that had been given to me because “I didn’t need any help.” I did not register with the college’s office that supports students with disabilities or go to professors’ office hours. I did not ask for extra help if I did not understand something and did not seek additional tutoring. I did not meet with faculty or teaching assistants to discuss how to be successful on exams.

In fact, I only used two positive academic skills during that first semester: I attended my classes on time and always took notes. My grades during this time reflected all the academic tasks that I did not complete and reminded me, again, that I needed to envision academic success differently t...


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About Sara J. Renzulli

Dr. Sara Renzulli served as the learning coordinator for the counseling program for intercollegiate athletes at the University of Connecticut. She had previously worked as an advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UConn. She completed her doctoral dissertation in counselor education and counseling psychology in 2013, and has researched increasing academic achievement in students with learning differences or from high-risk backgrounds.