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Civic Education Project

Civic Leadership Institute

Grades 9 - 12

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Summer 2022 Dates Available this January!

Tuition: TBD

Financial aid available for qualified students.

Challenge Your Thinking While Making a Difference

The Civic Leadership Institute (CLI) provides students a unique opportunity to explore current social and political issues through service-learning experiences, exchanges with community leaders, and academic study. Students build awareness and opinions, develop critical thinking skills through dialogue and debate, hone their leadership skills, and create an action plan on a topic of interest, encouraging them to make positive change. 

Why Choose CLI?

There has never been a more important time to explore your identity as a civic leader. CLI offers excellent preparation for college and careers and allows students to develop the leadership skills they need to make a difference in the world.

Benefits Include:

  • An engaging three-week online curriculum that tackles college-level course work on social concerns and methods of change
  • Opportunities to hear from community members, professionals and leaders in the field about ways to make change
  • A vibrant class community to support and challenge you as you build skills to become a more active citizen

In addition to CLI, CTD offers a diverse range of online program options; view a full list here.

Application Process and Deadlines

Civic Leadership Institute welcomes applications from Pre-Qualified applicants as well as New Scores and Portfolio applicants. Before beginning the online application, determine which type of applicant you are based on the descriptions below.

Pre-qualified Applicant
You are a Pre-qualified applicant if you are in grade 9 through grade 12 and you meet the following criteria: 

  • You have successfully completed a CTD course with a verbal/reading qualifying area through the Weekend Enrichment Program, Summer Program, Civic Education Project or Online Program at the Emerald Tier, or a tier with a higher score requirement, within the previous twenty-four months. 

New Scores Applicant
You are a new scores applicant if you are in grade 9 through grade 12 and you meet either one of the following criteria:

  • You have not attended any CTD program for the past two years and you have qualifying grade-level test scores (Verbal or Reading) that are no more than two years old; OR
  • You have participated in above grade-level testing such as the  the ACT® or SAT® test taken in grades 7, 8, or 9 within the past two years (Above-Grade-Level Assessment).

New Portfolio Applicant
You are a portfolio applicant if you are in grade 9 through grade 12 and you do not have qualifying test scores because you have either:

  • never taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test, OR
  • taken this type of test but not achieved a qualifying score.

 An Admission Portfolio includes the following documents:

  • Required: one teacher recommendation form (available once you have submitted your application) indicating that the student is performing 1½ to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the course to which the student is applying; 
  • Required: most recent school report card indicating exceptional performance in the subject area of the course to which the student is applying; 
  • If available: most recent standardized testing report (e.g. NWEA/MAP) or results of a state grade-level assessment.

Accepted Students

Accepted students will receive admissions materials via email one to three weeks after their application is complete. 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 Civic Leadership Institute will close June 15, 2021.  

After May 14, 2021, tuition increases by $100.

Applications submitted after June 8 must be accompanied by full tuition payment.


To qualify for Emerald tier Civic Leadership Institute (CLI) courses, students must be in grade 9 through grade 12 and must also provide one of the following:

  • Achievement of a 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 participated in above grade-level testing such as the  the ACT or SAT test taken in grades 7, 8, or 9 within the past two years (NUMATS);
  • 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.

International Applicants

Visit the International Students page for more information.

Fees, Withdrawals, and Financial Aid



Tuition increases by $25 after May 14


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 apply for financial aid for Civic Leadership Institute is May 31.
  • 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 2019-2020 academic year for CTD, you must still attach the 2020-2021 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.

Payment Plan

A five-month payment plan is available for students in CLI.

Other Sources of Support

We strongly suggest that families with financial need also seek outside support. Accepted students should start soliciting additional funds right away. Local religious or community organizations, businesses, local government offices, friends, and relatives are all potential sources of support. In addition, local schools and private agencies often provide summer scholarships for talented students.

Curriculum Overview

Through an advanced course in Service, Leadership & Community Transformation, challenge yourself to learn in new ways and apply your skills in real-world settings at CLI. View a sample syllabus.

CLI Curriculum Components

Academic Seminars
Examine issues through a critical lens. Absorb and engage in academic research and topic-focused presentations by instructors. Dialogue with peers to identify diverse viewpoints and consider new ideas.

Meetings with Community Partners
Learn from inspiring partners about their work, career path, and ideas about innovative approaches for meaningful change.

Process course material through guided questions and activities that broaden your perspective and build critical thinking skills.

Service Projects
Partner with a local non-profit or community organization. Get an orientation to their mission, and support their cause with hands-on projects or tasks while earning service hours.

Meet with government, business, and nonprofit leaders at the top of their fields to hear their experiences and path to making change.

Build communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills with classmates through instructor-led activities.

Action Plan
Select an area of interest and synthesize your learning through a plan for change under the mentorship of your instructional staff.

Course Environment

Our online courses are designed to allow each student to explore their strengths and potential as an engaged and creative leader through:

  • Daily live, online class sessions (Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. CST) 
  • Self-paced assignments, lessons, and reflections
  • Guest speakers and interactions with community organizations online

Students will be engaged in academically stimulating and engaging activities designed to develop higher-level thinking skills. To be successful in the course, a student should have a keen interest in the subject, be eager to work through academic challenges, and have a desire to learn in an online environment.

Students should expect to spend 4-5 hours per day engaged in course activities (including online class sessions and independent course work). Our dedicated instructors will initiate and guide online lessons and discussions. Students should possess effective communication skills, including proficient reading and writing skills, and feel comfortable asking questions to guide their learning. The course syllabi will guide pacing, and instructional staff office hours are available to help students process content and stay on track. 
Online class sessions will occur at a consistent time throughout the course, Mondays - Fridays. When attendance is not possible, students can access recordings of real-time class sessions any time after they occur.
After each daily class session, students will have the opportunity to provide short feedback so instructional staff and program administrators can monitor student progress and adjust teaching methods accordingly to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Course Access and Orientation

Schoology, the learning management system used by CTD, is a user-friendly platform designed specifically for K-12 online learners, and is COPPA compliant.

Students will receive login information to Schoology via e-mail 24-48 hours before the course start date.

With their login information, students will receive information about a live, online orientation for all new Online Program students. (Returning students are also welcome to repeat the orientation.) The orientation will be recorded for students to view at a later time, if desired.

Access to course material begins on the course start date.

Evaluations and Service Hours


All students receive a detailed narrative evaluation after completion of the course. The evaluation provides feedback on the student’s achievements in the course and outlines areas for further growth. Evaluations are sent via e-mail and able to be accessed via MyCTD.

Service Hours

Student evaluations include certification of service hours earned. Learn more about service hours awarded by CEP programs.

CEP is happy to complete any forms required for students to show proof of completed service hours; contact our office for assistance. 

Technology Requirements

All course work and communication (including instructor contact information, the course syllabus, and assignments) take place within the Schoology course site. Schoology can be accessed on a desktop or laptop computer, or with the Schoology mobile app for iOS or Android tablets and phones. While tablets may be sufficient for most course work, some web tools and/or websites may require the use of a computer.

Students need access to a stable internet connection and updated web browser.

Participation in “live” course activities or multimedia recordings may require a computer web camera, microphone or headset.

Contact Us
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Civic Leadership Institute

Explore the complex challenges that affect our communities and develop the knowledge, experience, and leadership skills you need to make a positive impact on the world.



“I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.”
– Civic Leadership Institute Student

Get Started on Your CEP Journey.

If you have found the program and course for you, we’d love for you to apply. 

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