Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Education




Vicki Schwean, Ph.D.; Pamela Bishop, Ph.D.


Early entrance/admission to university (i.e., between two and four years before the usual age of admission) can provide multiple benefits for gifted and talented secondary school students. For these students, early university entrance/admission may be a key way to extend their intellectual capacities, capacities that they would not be able to achieve otherwise (Gross & van Vliet, 2005). Many researchers have argued that gifted and talented students not only show exceptional uniqueness in their extended intellectual and cognitive potential (Noble & Childers, 2008), but also, they demonstrate enhanced creativity and curiosity (Noble et al., 2007). Therefore, the primary problem that some gifted and talented secondary school students face is the option of obtaining early entrance/admission to Canadian universities. The question arises whether Canadian universities have implemented early entrance/admission policies and procedures to respond to such needs. This study was conducted in two phases. Phase One investigated what early entrance/admission options are currently offered by Canadian universities. To determine these options, the researcher examined all Canadian Universities’ websites and invited Registrars of all Canadian universities (N=98) to participate in the study. The researcher received 27 responses either accepting the invitation to participate in the research (n=16), or declining it (n=11). The research revealed that most universities have not implemented early admission policies and procedures for gifted and talented students who would be interested in early admission. Decisions about early admissions are made on a “case-by-case” basis which seems a satisfactory solution due to low numbers of applicants. On the other hand, universities willingly accept such applications, and the age of applicants is not a decisive factor as long as other standards requirements are met. In Phase Two, the researcher undertook a single-case study of Paolo (student’s pseudonym), a young male, who, at the age of 16, was admitted to the Honours History Program at the University of Toronto from where he graduated at the age of 19. The case study, like other larger-scale studies of gifted and talented individuals, revealed that students such as Paolo may be very successful and benefit not only academically or intellectually from university early entrance/admission, but also, socially and emotionally. Such multifaceted developmental benefits of early entrance/admission are also supported in the literature and presented in this thesis.