AWE is coming to a town near YOU!

Scroll down to see what courses are being offered this March in the Midwest!

Details

Application Process

AWE welcomes applications from new applicants, returning applicants and portfolio applicants. When beginning the application process, click on the applicant type, best suited to you based on the descriptions below.

New Applicant
You are a new applicant if you are in grade 3 through grade 8 and you meet either one of the following criteria:

  • You have never attended any Center for Talent Development program and you have qualifying test scores (see eligibility section below) that are no more than two years old.
  • You have previously attended a Weekend Enrichment Program, Gifted LearningLinks Program or the Summer Program, but you are now applying for a course in a different subject area and you have qualifying test scores.

Returning/Recent Applicant
You are a returning applicant if you are in grade 3 through grade 8 and you meet both of the following criteria:

  • Within the last two years, you have successfully completed a Center for Talent Development (CTD) course through the Saturday Enrichment Program, Summer Program or Gifted LearningLinks Program.
  • You are now applying for an AWE course in the same subject area of the CTD course you previously completed and wish to use your old scores as evidence of your qualifications for the program. 

Portfolio Applicant
You are a portfolio applicant if you are in grade 3 through grade 8 and you meet the following criterion:

  • You do not have qualifying test scores because you have either 1) never taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test or 2) taken this type of test but not achieved a qualifying test score (see eligibility section below). 

Eligibility

To qualify for AWE admission, students must be enrolled in grades 3 through 8 (depending on the course) and provide evidence of one of the following:

  • Within the last two years, successful completion of a Center for Talent Development Saturday Enrichment Program, Gifted LearningLinks or Summer Program course in the subject area of the AWE course to which the student is applying;
  • Within the last two years, a national percentile score at the 90th percentile or above on a nationally normed standardized test in the subject area of the AWE course to which the student is applying;
  • Participation in above-grade-level testing such as the EXPLORE® test taken in grades 3, 4, 5 or 6 or the ACT® or SAT® in grade 6, 7, 8 or 9 (NUMATS); or
  • Submission of an Admission Portfolio.

Admission Portfolio
An Admission Portfolio includes the following documents:

  • Required: one teacher recommendation form indicating the student is performing 1½ to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the AWE course to which the student is applying;
  • Required: recent school report card indicating exceptional performance in the subject area of the AWE course to which the student is applying;
  • If available: most recent state testing report; any results of EXPLORE®, ACT®, SAT® or other nationally normed test

Homeschooler Admission Portfolio
A Homeschooler Admission Portfolio includes:

  • Two teacher recommendations forms  from adults unrelated to the applicant; and
  • Parent’s statement describing the student’s learning in the appropriate academic area over the past year, including references to curriculum, books, projects and activities.

Additionally, the Homeschooler Admission Portfolio may include any or all of the following, depending on availability:

  • Copies of the student’s best work in the appropriate academic area;
  • Copies of teacher evaluations from any classes taken from umbrella schools, co-ops, etc.;
  • Copies of any available standardized test reports taken in the last 24 months;
  • Copy of transcript or grade report for current academic year (Please indicate if this was produced by a parent); and
  • Any other information that might provide insight into the student’s academic strengths and help us place him/her in the appropriate course.

Acceptable Tests for AWE Eligibility
To prove eligibility, applicants may submit one of the following tests taken within the last two years demonstrating a score in the 90th percentile or above (National Percentile Rank):

  • EXPLORE®, ACT® or SAT® Test
  • Stanford Achievement Test
  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
  • Terra Nova Test
  • ERB Tests: Comprehensive Testing Program, Independent School Entrance Exam
  • Northwest Evaluation Association Tests (NWEA): Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), MAP for Primary Grades
  • Otis-Lennon Test
  • Kaufman Test of Education Achievement (KTEA)
  • Weschler Tests: WPPSI, WISC, WIAT
  • Woodcock-Johnson Test
  • Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT)
  • California Achievement Test
  • PSAT®
  • Any other achievement test with a National Percentile Rank (NPR %)

Financial Aid Opportunities

CTD offers need-based financial aid awarded as requests are received. Families are encouraged to apply early because the amount of aid available is limited.

  • The amount of financial aid awarded varies from partial to full tuition, and awards are based on family income and extenuating circumstances (e.g., loss of job, unforeseen medical expenses, etc.). Most families awarded aid have a total household income of less than $50,000.
  • Financial aid is awarded for one program and one session per child.
  • To be considered for financial aid, families must complete the Financial Aid Application, available once a family has applied through the online application. All supporting materials (tax information, statement of need, etc.) must be included in the financial aid submission in order for an application for financial aid to be considered.

Course Environment & Locations

The AWE program is offered in locations throughout the Midwest for students in grades 3 through 8. Since sites have many attractions nearby, parents and family members can pursue their choice of activities while students are in class.

AWE courses are from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Students break for 45 minutes each day to eat lunch they have brought.

AWE courses are continually updated as dates and sites are confirmed. Check back often for new course offerings!

Safety & Conduct

The AWE staff takes every reasonable step to ensure the safety and well-being of every AWE student, including the following:

  • Requiring a high standard for student conduct; and
  • Protecting student information. 

High Standards for Student Conduct
In order to maintain a safe and inviting learning environment, AWE participants must adhere to the CTD Honor Code. The Honor Code establishes standards and expectations for student behavior and reflects CTD's commitment to fostering character development, integrity and respect for diversity.

Protecting Student Information
Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern University is committed to protecting the privacy rights of all children. Our protocol, with regards to the data and information we collect and what is done with it, is outlined in the Privacy Statement section of the Policy Statements web page.

Program Orientation

Acceptance notifications are sent via e-mail two to three weeks following receipt of a completed application. Please pay special attention to this notification.  One week prior to the event, a second email is sent that contains:

• Classroom location
• Program orientation
• Program policies
• Supplies
• Behavioral expectations

Courses

Design Studio: Engineering for Sustainability (Gr. 7-8, Plymouth, MN)

March 25, 2017 - March 26, 2017 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

How can we look at problems and create new, thoughtful designs that solve them? How can we design packaging that can create a garden rather than end up in a landfill? Students will work to solve real world problems using human-centered and sustainable design concepts. Using a "cradle to cradle" approach to design, students will pay special attention to the entire life cycle of the design object, its impact on humanity and the environment, and its ability to be "upcycled." Young designers will invent unique solutions to design challenges through hands-on engagement in the engineering design process, collaboration, and creative problem solving.

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Science
Location
Plymouth, MN

Forensic Science (Gr. 5-6, Plymouth, MN)

March 25, 2017 - March 26, 2017 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Forensic Scientists use skills and techniques that come from a variety of disciplines—logic, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and technology—to solve mysteries. This course covers observational skills, perceptual fallacies, codes and code breaking, osteology, chromatography, criminology and more. Students will extract DNA, take fingerprints, analyze blood spatters and discuss famous-and infamous-cases.

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Science
Location
Plymouth, MN

Aerodynamics and Flight (Gr. 3-4, Evanston, IL)

March 18, 2017 - March 19, 2017 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Aerodynamics describes how air moves around a solid body. Students learn about the fundamental forces of flight and apply those principles to their own designs. Materials used may include paper, cardboard, balsa wood, and/or found materials. Students make predictions about designs and observe online flight simulations.

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Evanston, IL

Materials Design & Engineering: Sports Materials (Gr. 5-6, Evanston, IL)

March 18, 2017 - March 19, 2017 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Engineering bridges the gap between imagination and the laws of nature. In this project-based course, students learn about the attributes and advantages of sports materials by engaging in scientific inquiry and a culminating design project. Activities include exploring ball design & materials, measuring the rebound of sports balls, investigating energy absorption of materials, comparing rolling friction on different surfaces, and researching sports materials to design new sports equipment or a mini-golf game. Topics in chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and materials science unite in the world of sports.

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Evanston, IL

Computational Modeling in Biology (Gr. 7-8, Evanston, IL)

March 18, 2017 - March 19, 2017 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Did you know that bacteria are capable of making complex decisions? How do scientists use computers and engineering principles to make bacteria “smarter” and understand their survival mechanisms? Computational modeling helps scientists, health care professionals, and others more deeply understand complex questions about natural and social phenomena. Using the NetLogo agent-based modeling environment, students engineer genetic circuits using a computer simulation of a bacterial cell to develop deep understanding of cutting-edge ideas in genetics, evolution and complex systems thinking. This course fosters scientific thinking and computational thinking in the context of biological systems. 

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Evanston, IL

Computers: Where Hardware Meets Hard Logic (Gr. 7-8, Evanston, IL)

March 18, 2017 - March 19, 2017 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

What makes a computer work, both theoretically and physically?  How do computer engineers combine the binary system and electricity to make computers execute functions? Explore how logic is present in hardware and how simple circuits can be combined to carry out all the powerful functions of modern computers. In this hands-on class, students learn how to combine transistors, LEDs, and other components to carry out calculations and perform tasks.

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Evanston, IL

Digital Technology (Gr. 5-6, Holland, MI)

March 18, 2017 - March 19, 2017 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

The capability of digital technology increases all the time with new features, increasing use of graphics, and new software applications. Come explore the art of digital video technology as you create your own short movies and video arts. Explore both the technical features of capturing and editing video along with the creative aspects of digital design and idea visualization.

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Holland, MI

Cognitive Neuroscience (Gr. 7-8, Holland, MI)

March 18, 2017 - March 19, 2017 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Recent investigations into the brain have yielded critical insights into the mind’s architecture.  Students explore how neuroscientists use a variety of methods to tackle problems and critically examine the information the professionals have discovered. With interactive laboratory-style activities, students become familiar with some of the brain’s structure and function, sensory perception and reflexes.

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Holland, MI
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