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1 and 3-Week Courses with Day and Residential Student Options

Grades 6 - 12 Academic Summer Camps at Northwestern University

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2024 Summer Application Is Open!

Visit Explore Courses or MyCTD to apply.

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In Person Three-Week & One-Week Camps

Residential and Day Camp Options at Northwestern University
Evanston, IL

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Three-Week Camps

Session 1
June 23 - July 12, 2024 (no class on July 4)

Session 2
July 14 - August 2, 2024

One-Week Camps

Session 2.1: July 14 to July 19, 2024
Session 2.2: July 21 to 26, 2024
Session 2.3: July 28 to August 2, 2024

2024 Academic Summer Camp Tuition

  • 2024 Tuition Rates Posted Below

Financial aid available for qualified students.

Prepare for the Future while Enjoying the Summer

CTD's Academic Day and Residential Camps for students grades 6-12 (entering grade in fall 2024) offer high-achieving, motivated middle and high school students the opportunity to receive high school, college-level and pre-professional instruction from master teachers and industry leaders. Fast-paced, intensive courses engage students in critical and creative problem solving as they grapple with advanced concepts in subjects from math and science to writing and technology to leadership and service-learning, producing products such as writing portfolios, original iOS apps, or community action plans.

Why Choose CTD's Academic Camps?

Accelerated coursework and immersive learning experiences help students build confidence in their talents and potential. Master instructors, community partners, and industry experts support students as they explore possible career paths. Community with like-minded peers from around the country and across the globe provide the inspiration and support needed to stretch and grow. CTD participants develop their individual talents as they learn how to make positive change in their communities. In addition, residential camps immerse students in the beautiful lakeside campus of Northwestern University. Residential camp programming emphasizes the formation of life-long friendships and the independence needed to succeed at university and beyond. 

Benefits include:

  • Small class sizes and individual attention
  • Opportunities to network with a a global community of peers
  • Preparation for high school, college, and career
  • High-quality instruction using a talent development framework and best practices in gifted education

In addition to Academic Day and Residential Camp options, CTD offers a diverse range of online program options; view a full list here.

Application Process

Please note: Students should apply to programs and select courses based on the grade they will enter in fall of 2024.

With the launch of our new application system, our processes have changed and are more streamlined for your convenience.

From the Home page on your MyCTD account go to Courses.  If you do not yet have a MyCTD account, you can create one by clicking on MyCTD account from the upper right corner of our website. Please make sure to put your student or students into your account and make sure to select a STUDENT for each application.

You may use the filter to search for classes OR type in the class you wish to apply for in the search field.

Select the Apply Now button in the upper right corner of the course description card.

Select the student for whom you wish to create an application.

If your student’s school is not found with the search tool, please choose Other and provide your student’s school information in the space provided.

Please read through and sign the necessary release page.  The policies link at the top of the page includes the withdrawal and refund policies applicants agree to.  We ask that you make sure to review the policies for the program you are applying to carefully.

You may then choose to create a new application or proceed to the payments page.

On the payments page, select New Course Payment.

The Applications for Payment screen will allow you to make payment for the class AND shows the enrollment status of your application(s).  If the status is Under Review, no further action should be needed.  If the status reads Additional Information Needed, you will need to provide either qualifying test scores OR your student’s most recent report card/transcript and the name and email of their classroom teacher or the teacher whose class most closely relates to the course for which you are applying.

Please note, we have recently migrated to a new system and there may be some errors in our database. If you feel that your student’s Enrollment Status should read Under Review based on previous CTD classes, please email .

If you would like to apply for need based financial aid, please make sure to read through our financial aid page to assess if you may qualify:  If you indicate you are applying for financial aid you will receive the FACTS financial aid application in a follow-up email.  Your application to the course cannot be reviewed without a COMPLETED FACTS application in the FACTS system.

On the payment screen, please select the application or applications you wish to pay for.  Unless applying for financial aid, CTD requires full payment at the time of application for most programs. If your student is not accepted, or the class is cancelled, you will receive a full refund.

Once you have made payment you will be directed back to your dashboard.  Please select TO APPLICATION.

You may choose to complete your application at this time OR you may come back to it. Please keep in mind, paying for and submitting and application DOES NOT hold a spot for your student.  Classes are filled in the order that completed, qualifying applications are received.


You will receive a confirmation email upon submission of your payment. The email contains a link to more specific directions regarding how to complete your application, should additional information be needed.

To complete your student’s application with qualifying TEST SCORES, click on Upload Test Scores.  You may also use this button to upload a copy of your student’s grades if necessary to show proof of prerequisites.

To complete your student’s application with a TEACHER RECOMMENDATION and GRADES please provide the name and email address of your recommending teacher.  If you do not have the grades ready at the same time you will be able to return to provide them later by following the prompts in your MyCTD account.

If you have any prerequisites that are not documented on your report card or transcript, you will have the opportunity to upload them separately.

We kindly request that you do not upload the same documents multiple times.  Please also allow our team up to 7 business days to process any documents provided for your application.

Accepted Students

Accepted students will receive admissions materials via email. Enrollment information will include a link to information regarding housing and travel details, a packing list, required health information, as well as program rules and policies. This information will be available in late spring.


The application period for 6-12 Academic Summer Camps will close Saturday, June 5 for Session 1 and Saturday, July 7 for Session 2, 2024.  Applications must be submitted AND completed by this date to be considered for enrollment.

Residential space may be limited.

After May 28, 2024, tuition increases by $100.

Applications submitted after June 10, 2024 must be accompanied by full tuition payment.

Academic Eligibility

Accelerated, Credit-Bearing Courses

Accelerated, credit-bearing courses are comprised of courses at the Indigo eligibility tier. Please make sure to thoroughly read the admissions requirements, including any prerequisites in the individual course descriptions.

To qualify for Indigo Tier Accelerated Courses students must provide one of the following:

  • Qualifying score on an Above-Grade-Level Assessment in the required qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math or Science) for the desired course.
  • Successful completion of a previous CTD course, with the same qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math or Science), at the Indigo Tier within the past two years.
  • Submission of a portfolio application, consisting of a teacher recommendation and the student’s transcript or most recent report card demonstrating that the student is performing exceptionally well in the qualifying subject area. 
  • Students from India, UAE, Kuwait, or Singapore who have tested with ASSET Talent Search may be able to apply as new students with qualifying test scores.

Prerequisites and Graded Writing Sample for Creative Writing: Master Class

A few courses require additional prerequisites for admission. Any prerequisites are included the course description. Any student applying to a course with a prerequisite must submit documentation showing the prerequisite has been met unless CTD already has such information from previous applications, or if the prerequisite has been met via a CTD course.

A grade sample of the applicant's creative writing is necessary when apply to Creative Writing: Master Class. Evidence that the writing sample has been assessed for academic purposes can be provided on the writing sample itself or by submitting an accompanying rubric or other feedback that is clearly tied to the writing sample. Providing an ungraded writing sample will result in a delay of the application being deemed complete and may cause an applicant to miss out on a class that fills to capacity.

 Advanced Enrichment Courses

Advanced Enrichment Courses are at the Magenta eligibility tier. Please make sure to thoroughly read the admissions requirements, including any prerequisites in the individual course descriptions.

To qualify for Magenta Tier Advanced Enrichment Courses students must provide one of the following:

  • Qualifying score of 95th percentile or above on a nationally normed, standardized grade-level achievement test (e.g. MAP, STAR, ACT, SAT, PSAT 8/9, PSAT/NMSQT etc.), or
  • Participation in above-grade-level testing through CTD Above-Grade-Level Assessment or similar program, or
  • Successful completion, within the past two years, of a previous CTD course at the Magenta or Indigo Tier and in the qualifying subject area, or 
  • Admission portfolio (report card or transcript, teacher recommendation, and test scores, if available).  

Civic Education Program Courses

To qualify for Emerald Tier Civic Education Programs (Civic Leadership Institute (CLI), Taking Action and Leadership Intensive courses), students must be the appropriate grade and/or age and must also provide one of the following:

  • Qualifying score of 90th percentile or higher on a nationally normed grade-level assessment in the required verbal/reading qualifying subject area.
  • Successful completion of a CTD course, with a verbal/reading qualifying subject area within the past two years.
  • Past participation in above grade-level testing such as the ACT or SAT test taken in grades 7, 8, or 9 within the past two years (CTD Above-Grade-Level Assessment);
  • Submission of a portfolio application, consisting of a teacher recommendation and the student’s most recent report card, demonstrating that the student is performing well in language arts or humanities.

English Language Proficiency

Because courses are taught in English, test scores are used to assess proficiency and assist in course placement. TOEFL (or TOEFL Jr. for grades 4-8) or IELTS scores are required for students for whom English is not the first language and who do not have qualifying scores on an accepted English language grade-level or above-grade-level achievement test.  Students who do have qualifying scores on a test in English do not need to provide additional English Language Proficiency scores.

Requests for Grade Advancement/Acceleration

CTD course content is advanced or grade-level accelerated, as reflected in course descriptions and the standard admission requirements. Though course content is advanced, students can engage with intellectual peers who are also age- or grade-level peers. Therefore, most students should apply for courses aligned to the grade-level in which they are currently enrolled. Still, for some students demonstrating a need for an even higher level of instruction than CTD’s advanced and accelerated courses already provide, further acceleration may be an option. Visit the Requesting an Accelerated Placement web page for more information about the process, timeline, and required materials.

Fees, Withdrawals, and Financial Aid

2024 Tuition 

Grades 6-12 Tuition for Three-Week Camps:

  • Residential Camp: $4,995 
  • Day Camp: $2,740 
  • Residential Partnership Camp: $5,675
  • Day Partnership Camp: $3,420

Grades 6-12 Tuition for One-Week Camps:

  • Residential Camp: $1,650
  • Day Camp: $910.00

Tuition increases by $100 for all courses after May 26, 2024.


Please see our withdrawal information for policies specific to this program.

Financial Aid

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. Please see the Financial Aid page for details. 

  • The deadline to provide a complete financial aid application is April 30, 2023.
  • You will receive the FACTS application link in your application confirmation email once the $60 dollar tuition deposit is paid and the application is submitted.
  • It is imperative that you complete the financial aid application as soon as possible as it may take FACTS up to ten days to process your information.
  • If you previously completed a FACTS application for the 2021-2022 academic year for CTD, you must still attach the 2022-2023 FACTS application to your FACTS account. You will be able to link your FACTS account to this new FACTS information. You may need to update financial information.
  • If you experience difficulties with the FACTS process please call the FACTS helpline at 866/412-4637.

Technology Scholarship

Students with financial need applying to technology courses may apply for the Sandra Dennhardt Technology Scholarship.  For a list of eligible courses and more information please see our Scholarship Opportunities page.

The application deadline for this scholarship is April 15.

Learning Community & Expectations

Academic Environment

CTD's Academic Camps offer an opportunity for students to experience a true living-learning community at one of the nation's top research universities, Northwestern University. In diverse academic and residential groups, students form strong bonds with other advanced learners from across the country through academic endeavors and cultural and recreational opportunities outside of class.

Whether the course is three weeks or one week in length, students attend class from 9 AM to 3 PM with an hour's break for lunchFor our younger students especially, this is an intense day of cognitive engagement.  Curricula are developed according to CTD’s signature Talent Development model and Framework for Student SuccessFurther, instructors design coursework according to its difficulty level: advanced enrichment or acceleratedAdvanced enrichment coursework focuses on exposure to interdisciplinary topics to develop skill, language, and passion for the fieldAccelerated coursework moves at a fast pace, compressing one or two semesters of standard subject matter into a three-week academic intensiveStudents taking advanced enrichment or one-credit accelerated courses can expect 1-2 hours of homework nightlyStudents taking accelerated, two-credit or AP courses, can expect 2-3 hours of homework per night, in addition to the five hours of daily instructional time.  Students can expect a sincere academic challenge designed to build higher-level thinking and psycho-social competencies within material up to two years beyond their school grade level.  Practice, focus, and persistence are important to students' success.

Living on Campus

Residential students live in a residence hall on campus, under the supervision of trained residential staff. Each residential teaching assistant (RTA) is responsible for a group of approximately 15 students. Students are housed by gender identity and age.  Rooms are assigned by gender and age.  Students eat with residential staff and other members of the university community in a dining hall on campus.  Students also have limited access to other campus facilities, including libraries, computer labs, and athletic fields. Families with questions about student housing assignments may email CTD Summer directly at 

Experienced Staff Members 

Our staff is a talented group of educators brought together by their commitment to teaching highly able young people. Staff are invested in the success of every student, and help build a safe and supportive environment for growth and self-discovery.  

A High Standard of Student Conduct

Our programs are highly structured and operate with a strict set of rules regarding campus and community boundaries and appropriate staff supervision. These rules help to ensure the well-being of our students and staff, and all students who attend must be committed to respecting them. Students and families are asked to review our Honor Code so that all participants are aware of the program's expectations and their personal responsibility to contribute to a positive living and learning environment.

See Community Health and Safety below for information on health and safety protocols.

Daily Student Schedule

For Grades 6-12

6:30 - 7:00 AM: Residents rise and shine!
7:00 - 7:30: Residents meet their RTA for breakfast.
7:30 - 8:30: Residents attend breakfast with RTA.
8:15 - 8:45: Day student drop-off and check-in
8:45 - 9: Students walk to class with TA (s)
9:00 - 11/Noon: AM class session
11 AM - 1 PM: Student lunch hour staggered by class
Noon/1 - 3: PM class session
3:15: First day student pick-up
3:30 - 4:45: Activities 
5:00: Final day student pick up
5:30 - 7: Residents attend dinner
7 - 8:15: Student Union (S/M/W) and Zoom Study Session (T/R)
8/9: Building curfew for residents in Grades 6-8/Grades 9-12
8:15/9:15: Residential groups meet with RTA (Grades 6-8/Grades 9-12)
8:45/9:45 to Lights Out: Floor Time and Wind Down for residents
10:30/11 Lights-out for students in Grades 6-8/Grades 9-12


  • There is no class on July 4, 2024.
  • The Zoom Study Sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings are TA-led and optional for our Day Students. 
  • Students taking enrichment coursework and coursework conferring one semester of high school honors credit can expect between 1-2 hours of homework per night.  Students taking two-credit or AP courses can expect 2-3 hours of homework per night. 
  • Evenings and weekends find residential students enjoying a broad range of activities, such as dances, talent shows, field days, and trips to downtown Chicago.
Student Evaluations

All students who successfully complete CTD Academic Summer Day and Residential Camps receive a brief narrative evaluation that includes comments on the student’s performance in class, grade and credits earned (if applicable), service-learning hours for CLI students, as well as recommendations for future study. Residents also receive a brief narrative evaluation that includes comments on community membership and contributions. These evaluations are available 6 weeks after the final class of the session.

Community Health & Safety

The health and safety of our students and staff has always been CTD's top priority. This year is no exception. Families are strongly encouraged to monitor their students for symptoms of illness, keep sick students at home, and get them tested for communicable illnesses such as influenza, COVID-19, and strep throat.

While on campus, students diagnosed with contagious illness (e.g. influenza, COVID-19, chicken pox, etc.) that will take multiple days to resolve, or students who sustain a fever for more than 36 hours, or who experience sustained episodes of vomiting or diarrhea will return home in the care of the family within 24 hours of receiving notice from CTD staff. Families may authorize an adult designee to take their student home.

Contact Us

Attending CTD classes is about trying new things and getting inspiration for what my career might be someday....CTD has taught me that the world is wide open."CTD Student

Get Started on Your CTD Summer Program Journey.

If this is the program for you, we’d love for you to find your course and apply today!


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