Gifted education and science fairs
I have linked to Terence Tao's blog for some time, because a surprising number of people come here from there. But, although I am more comfortable with math than some biologists, I don't have any idea what most of his posts are about. On the other hand, his career advice seems good and widely applicable. A recent post on gifted education seems like good advice both for parents and for any gifted students who might be reading this.
I've always been annoyed by the competitive aspect of science fairs. I worry that students who do a really good project are going to feel like they wasted their time if they don't win a particular prize. In Oregon, where I went to high school, there was an annual scientific meeting for high school students. It was considered an honor to have your talk or poster accepted for presentation, but it was an honor within the reach of any reasonably smart student who worked for it. It was great talking to other students about their projects, without worrying about winning or losing. Sure, a student thinking about grad school needs to know that competition for research faculty positions and grants is intense, but why kill the joy of science at an early age?