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CTD Online FAQs

Online Course Details

What is the difference between CTD Online's various program models?

CTD offers online courses with a variety of program models, session dates, and pacing options; learn more.

When will my student receive access to the online course?

Accepted students will receive course log in information via e-mail within 12-24 hours of the start of the course for most Online Programs. Program specific additions are listed below.

Online Family Program

Students and parents or caregivers can access their course on the start date. An email reminder of the course start date will be sent 24-48 hours before the course begins.

Weekend at Home

Students will receive access to Welcome Folders in Schoology approximately 5-7 days before the start of the session. Access to course materials begins on the course start date.

Encounters at Home

Students will access their course directly via Zoom on the scheduled course date.

Leapfrog-Spark Online

Students receive access to Welcome Folders in Schoology a few days before the course starts. Access to courses materials begins on the course start date.

Online Solstice, Global Leadership Intensive, Spectrum, and Equinox

Students receive access to their courses one week before the start of the session. Access to most course materials begins on the course start date.

When will I know what supplies or textbooks will be needed for the course?

Online Family Program Courses

Generally, only typical household materials are required for course supplies. If additional supplies (or access to websites or apps) are needed, it is noted in the course description and a list of supplies is e-mailed to families before the start of the course.

CEP Leadership Intensive, Leapfrog-Spark Online, Solstice Online, Global Leadership Intensive, Spectrum Online, Equinox Online, Weekend at Home, and Encounters at Home Courses

If supplies are required, an itemized list is e-mailed to families before the start of the course.

Online Enrichment, Core Essentials, Honors, AP, and ASO Courses

The course acceptance notification email will contain a link to CTD’s online bookstore vendor, where students can find textbook requirements (if applicable) for their course. If a course does not have a textbook requirement, this will be indicated within the bookstore.

Textbooks can be purchased from CTD’s online bookstore, or from another vendor of choice. The use of a textbook varies by course, and not all online courses require one. Textbook and supply costs (i.e. lab kits, if applicable) are not included in course fees.

Can my student work at their own pace?

Weekend at Home, Encounters at Home, and Leapfrog-Spark Online courses are live online, and therefore not flexibly paced. Students engage with the material synchronously with their instructor and classmates via Zoom.

CEP Leadership Intensive courses have live online class sessions, and additional independent course work per week. Course work can be completed as fits students' schedules within the course pacing guidelines.

Online Family Program courses are flexibly paced; a new module of the course is made available each week of the 4-week course.

Summer CLI, Solstice Online, Global Leadership Intensive, Spectrum Online, and Equinox Online courses have daily live online class sessions, and additional, independent work each evening.

The remainder of CTD Online (Enrichment, Core Essentials, Honors, AP® , ASO) courses are flexibly paced. Students may complete their course in less than the allotted time. See additional information on the course environment and course pacing for the specific program model you’re considering:

Online Enrichment
Online Core Essentials
Online Honors
Online AP®
Online Accelerated Summer Option (ASO)

What if my student does not finish the work by the end of the session?

CEP CLI, Leadership Intensive, Online Core Essentials, Online Enrichment, Online Family Program, Encounters at Home, Solstice Online, Global Leadership Intensive, Spectrum Online, Equinox Online, and Weekend at Home courses are not eligible for extensions; courses close on their posted session end dates.

Students in Online Honors, Online AP®, or Online ASO classes may request up to three, one-month extensions from their instructor, and are considered on an individual basis. To qualify for an extension, students need to have made significant progress towards completion of course work. (At a minimum, students need to have finished more than half of the course work to submit a request for extension.) Additionally, a student must have demonstrated the desire and capacity to complete the course in order for an extension request to be approved.

Course extensions begin on the course end date, run consecutively, and are not able to be delayed. A $100 fee is assessed for each month of an extension.

Requests for course extensions should be directed to the course instructor in writing and must be approved by the course instructor and CTD.

Are there online class sessions?

CEP CLI, Leadership Intensive, Leapfrog-Spark Online, Solstice Online, Global Leadership Intensive, Spectrum Online, Equinox Online, Weekend at Home, and Encounters at Home courses have live, online class sessions taught by CTD Instructors.

All other CTD Online courses are taught asynchronously. Students log in and complete course work according to their own schedule. Instructors, who have designed the course, give assignments, provide feedback, and are available to answer any questions. In the Online Family Program, participants exercise choice in activities and assignments are not graded. Learn more about asynchronous online learning at CTD.

Online Enrichment and Online Core Essentials courses do have two optional live classes during the session, scheduled by the instructor.

Who teaches Online Program courses?

Our instructors come from various professional backgrounds and are selected because of their mastery of the subject matter, teaching experience, enthusiasm, and ability to work with gifted students. Instructors receive coaching and support from CTD staff, who have expertise in online learning design and instruction.

What is the role of parents in an online course?

Parents provide the technology and any other supplies or books necessary for students to complete assignments. Parents may also provide time management and emotional support. Managing the time necessary for a self-paced online course may be a new skill for many students who will benefit from time management support from parents. Of course, the appropriate level of parental support varies depending on the age and skill set of each student. As students at all levels take on new academic challenges, the encouragement and reassurance of parents is important, especially as students take risks, make mistakes and work to understand new concepts.

In the Online Family Program parents also participate in the course by reviewing materials created to help them learn how to engage in critical questioning and guided play that will stretch their child’s thinking. Parents may also record and post the work of younger students who do not yet have the necessary computer skills to do so independently. 

 

Eligibility

Is there eligibility criteria for the Online Family Program or Leapfrog-Spark Online?

No - The Online Family Program and Leapfrog Spark Online are open enrollment with no eligibility criteria. Still, these courses are academically advanced and faster paced than typical course work at the same grade levels. Please consider this when applying. The Online Family Program is designed to include active support of an adult, particularly at the youngest grade levels.

Why do students need to qualify for other Online Program courses?

CTD's online courses are designed for students ready for above-grade-level curriculum with less repetition and greater emphasis on higher order thinking than traditional curriculum. Our goal in having eligibility criteria is to ensure students who are ready for advanced material and pacing are placed in courses that are appropriately challenging. Successful students are typically functioning 1-2 grade levels above their age peers in school in the subject area(s) related to their CTD online course(s). See complete eligibility criteria for CTD courses.

CTD's Admissions & Advising team is happy to assist families in selecting an appropriate course based on the students' interests, goals, and current level of readiness, and can be reached at ctd-admissions@northwestern.edu.

How can my student qualify?

Students can qualify as a pre-qualified student (for those who have been accepted to a CTD course with similar eligibility criteria within the last 2 years), or as a new student with qualifying test scores or via an admissions portfolio. See complete eligibility criteria for CTD courses.

 

Application Process

What is the procedure for submitting an application and paying for a course?

Applications for a course can be submitted by clicking the “Apply Now” button in the course card. This will take you to the MyCTD homepage where you can register for or log into an existing MyCTD account. You will complete demographic information and submit tuition payment with an initial course application. (If a course application is not accepted, a full refund will be issued for tuition paid.)

Once an application is submitted, it will be listed in a MyCTD account under “Open Applications.” Please navigate to your application here to upload supporting documents, such as test scores or grade reports. If you are applying as an Admissions Portfolio applicant, you will also find a link to a teacher recommendation form here. Once all documentation is submitted, applications are reviewed by CTD Admissions staff for completeness (applications will be marked as "complete" after this review), and then for eligibility and acceptance to the course.

What is a nationally normed test?

A nationally normed standardized test is one that has been given to large numbers of students at specific grade levels.

What is a prerequisite?

A prerequisite is identified by the instructor as the knowledge or skills necessary to start a course. For example, Algebra 2 has a prerequisite of Algebra 1.

How do I know when my application materials have been received?

Application materials will not be marked “received” until they are confirmed as complete by an Admissions staff member. During busy enrollment periods, this can take up to five business days. You can check your MyCTD account to see if materials have been marked as “received.”

What does it mean when my student’s application is marked “complete”?

A student’s application is marked “complete” when all necessary qualifying materials have been submitted. Next, the student’s application is reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

When will I hear if my child has been accepted?

The Admissions Committee reviews completed applications on a rolling basis, and families will be notified with an admissions decision, or with a request for more information, within 2-4 weeks of receiving a completed application.

What is the procedure for requesting financial aid?

Need-based financial aid is available for most CTD programs. Families are encouraged to apply early in the application season, as the amount of aid available is limited. Please see Financial Aid Opportunities for more information.

What is the Online Program’s refund policy?

Please see Withdrawal and Refund Policies.

How many courses can my student apply for at one time?

Please consider your student’s schedule when applying for multiple courses, and note the hours of course work per week that is required.

Many students are able to successfully enroll in multiple courses at a time. However, if your student is new to online learning, we recommend starting with one or two courses, and then consider increasing involvement over time as they gain experience in the online learning environment.

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