The Center for Talent Development's Summer Program
CTD's Summer Program
Apply for the Summer Program's Leapfrog, Apogee, Spectrum or Equinox programs

Admission Criteria
Test score requirements are listed in the description for each course. These scores refer to SAT or ACT tests taken in grades 6 through 9, not in grades 10 to 12. Students without above-grade-level scores may certainly still apply, but must submit an admission portfolio application.
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Tests Accepted
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Most courses require that students complete prerequisites in order to qualify for admission. Prerequisites are listed at the beginning of each course description. Any student applying to a course with a prerequisite must submit a report card, letter or transcript showing that the prerequisite has been met prior to the start of the program. Any student applying to a writing-intensive course must submit a graded writing sample. See Equinox course descriptions for further information.
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Returning Students
Students previously enrolled and successful in Center for Talent Development's (CTD) Spectrum or Equinox programs are automatically eligible to re-enroll in the same subject area of demonstrated strength.  Students who wish to take a class in a subject different from that which they initially qualified must submit new test scores or an admission portfolio.

Please note: Students moving from the Saturday Enrichment program or GLL to Equinox  may not apply as returning students. Equinox is a compressed, accelerated program requiring specific test scores on above grade-level tests (ACT or SAT through Northwestern University's Midwest Academic Talent Search or similar service) or submission of an admission portfolio. Previous courses taken in the Saturday Enrichment Program or the GLL program may be submitted as the prerequisite for the applied for course if appropriate.

Admission Portfolio
Students who do not have test scores to submit as part of their application, or whose scores do not meet the minimum requirement may still apply to the Equinox Program with an Admission Portfolio application.

An Admission Portfolio application includes:
  • Online application
  • Application fee and tuition deposit
  • Online statement of purpose and essay
  • Proof of prerequisite if applicable (Check course description)
  • Transcript (official or unofficial)
  • Writing sample, if required (Check course description)
  • Two teacher recommendations (Teacher recommendation forms can be found here.)
  • TOEFL/TOEFL Jr. scores or English Language Portfolio (see below) for students whose first language is not English
If TOEFL/TOEFL Jr. testing is not available, students should submit a portfolio that includes the following materials to demonstrate proficiency:
  • Parent Survey
  • Teacher Recommendations completed by an educator who instructs the student in English
  • Writing sample or interview (Students may be interviewed via Skype.)
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Applications from International Students

CTD welcomes applications from international students (non-U.S. citizens). Please follow the guidelines for applying as appropriate based on student's individual situation. In addition, if English is not the student's first language, students are required to submit TOEFL (students 15 and older) or TOEFL JR (students 14 and younger) scores. Students need a good command of written and spoken English to succeed in these fast-paced, intensive courses. For information about TOEFL and TOEFL JR., visit the website CTD strongly recommends students who require visa sponsorship apply before April 1, 2014 as it may take 8 to 10 weeks to secure a student visa. Visa applications must be submitted to Northwestern University's International Officeby June 1, 2014. Visa applications submitted after June 1, 2014 will not be processed. CTD is not responsible for an accepted student's inability to secure a student visa.

The CTD Summer Program has been identified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and Northwestern University as academic programs that require a student visa for any non-U.S. citizen/permanent resident. Any admitted student who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or in another visa category that allows for study, requires sponsorship for a student visa. Failure to comply may negatively impact a student's ability to secure another non-immigrant visa in the future.

  • Non-U.S. citizens are required to have the appropriate student visa (for more information, visit
  • All non-U.S. citizens are required to have a passport to attend summer programs in the U.S.  The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months after the completion of the program.
  • Accepted students who require visa sponsorship may incur additional fees to cover processing and mailing costs.
  • Please note - the application for visas is offline in February. CTD highly encourages families to apply for visas in January or March.