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Spectrum Online

Grades 6 - 8 Summer Program

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Spectrum Online offers students three-week courses in a live, synchronous format with social activities for participants available after class.

A select number of Spectrum In-person courses are currently enrolling for Summer 2021. These courses are commuter only. Please visit the In-Person Summer Programs page for more details.

Explore Courses

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Live, synchronous three-week courses

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Two, Three-Week Sessions

June 28 - July 16
July 19 - August 6

Tuition: $1,480

Financial aid available for qualified students.

The Rigor of High School with the Fun of Summer

The Spectrum Online program provides rigorous, high school-level coursework for students ready for additional challenge in their area of strength. Over the course of three weeks, students develop critical and creative problem solving skills through applied practice in subjects from math and science to writing and technology. Honors courses carry high school credit from CTD.

Why Choose the Spectrum Online Program?

Through collaboration with like-minded peers in an accelerated academic environment and close mentorship from master instructors, a summer with the Spectrum program will open your talented student’s eyes to the scope of their potential. 

Benefits include: 

  • Small class sizes and individual attention from master teachers
  • A robust activities program
  • Lifelong friendships with students from all over the world

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

Application Process

The Spectrum Online Summer Program 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.

Applications are submitted through MyCTD. Applicants are encouraged to apply early; many courses begin to fill by mid-March. Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are completed. Incomplete applications do not "hold a spot" in the desired course. Once you have made a payment and submitted the application you will receive an email with further instructions. You will then be able to return to the application and select View Application Details to upload any necessary documents and to get the teacher recommendation link, if necessary.

Pre-qualified Review Applicant

You are a pre-qualified review applicant if you are in grade 6 through grade 8 and you meet both of the following criteria: 

  • You have successfully completed a CTD course through the  Summer Program or Online Program at the Magenta Tier or Indigo Tier (for Advanced Enrichment courses) or Indigo Tier (for Accelerated courses), within the previous twenty-four months. 
  • You are now applying for a Summer Program course with the same qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math or Science) as a CTD course you previously completed.

NOTE: Students may NOT apply to Spectrum as pre-qualified participants from Solstice, Weekend Enrichment or Leapfrog-Spark Programs.

New Scores Applicant

You are a New Scores applicant if you are in grade 6 through grade 8 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 test scores (Verbal, Math or Science) for your desired course that are no more than two years old.
  • You have previously attended a course with the Summer Program or CTD Online Program, but you are now applying for a course with a different qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math, or Science) and you have qualifying test scores. 

New Portfolio Applicant

You are a portfolio applicant if you are in grade 6 through grade 8 and you do not have qualifying test scores because you have either:

  • never taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test or above-grade-level 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.

Please note that students should apply for the Summer Program at the grade level they are in as of January 2021. For the purposes of the Summer Program, students are considered to be in the grade they just completed and NOT the grade they will enter in the fall.

Because applications are accepted on a continuous basis, courses that are listed as available may close before a student's application is complete and comes up for review. We strongly suggest listing second and third choice courses on applications. Applications are processed and reviewed by Admissions staff when all necessary documentation has been provided through the applicant's MyCTD account. 

It can take up to a week for our staff to review newly submitted applications and any documentation provided to complete an application later. Until our staff has verified the documents, submissions will not be reflected in what you see in MyCTD. We kindly ask you to not call nor e-mail our office to confirm receipt of documentation or application items within a week of submitting them.

It may take 2 to 4 weeks for an admissions decision to be made once the application is complete.  You will receive an email once an admissions decision has been made.


Application deadlines are typically in June, but courses are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.


The Spectrum Online Program is comprised of courses representative of both the Magenta and Indigo eligibility tiers.  The qualifications for these two tiers are different due to the increased rigor of the Indigo accelerated, credit-bearing courses.  Please make sure to thoroughly read the admissions requirements, including any prerequisites, in the individual course descriptions.

To qualify for Magenta Tier Spectrum Advanced Enrichment Courses students must be in grade 6 through 8 and must also provide one of the following:

  • Achievement of a score of 95th percentile or higher on a nationally normed grade-level assessment in the required qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math or Science) for the desired course. 
  • Successful completion of a previous CTD course at the Magenta or Indigo Tier, with the same qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math or Science), within the past two years. 
  • Submission of a portfolio application, consisting of a teacher recommendation and the student’s most recent report card demonstrating that the student is performing exceptionally well in the qualifying subject area. 
  • Participation in above-grade-level testing such as the PSAT™8/9 test taken in grades 4, 5, or 6, or the ACT® or SAT® test taken in grades 6, 7 or 8 (NUMATS) within the last two years.
  • 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.

To qualify for Indigo Tier Spectrum Accelerated Courses students must be in grade 6 through 8 and must also 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 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.

For families looking for insights into student learning or interested in assessment for program eligibility (test scores are valid for 2 years for CTD programs), Center for Talent Development offers REMOTE assessment using MAP.  Because of the requirements of remote testing, there are limited days and times available. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more.

Prerequisites and Graded Writing Sample

Many 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.

Graded writing samples are required for English/Language Arts classes in the Spectrum Program.  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.

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 PSAT, I-Excel, SAT, ACT, ASSET, or PreACT 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


  • $1,480


Please see our withdrawal information for policies.

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 complete a financial aid application for Summer Programs is May 31. However, funds are limited and historically our financial aid has been fully dispersed before the deadline date.
  • Do NOT wait for your 2020 tax info to be completed. You can provide your 2019 info along with your 2020 W-2.
  • 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.

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.

Payment Plan

A five-month payment plan option is available. The payment plan application is due within 30 days of acceptance. There is a $50 service charge for using the payment plan; families eligible for financial aid will not be assessed the service charge.

Program Dates and Times

Summer 2021 Dates:

Two sessions are available. Students may participate in one or more sessions.

June 28 - July 16
July 19 - August 6


Live, synchronous sessions take place Monday through Friday. Live sessions are held each morning (CST) to accommodate the widest range of time zones possible.

Academic Day Schedule

10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.: Synchronous class day
Instructors hold daily office hours before or after class.

Optional Afternoon Programming

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.: The Hangout. Meet new friends and bond over shared interests!
3 p.m. - 4 p.m.: Afternoon activities. Teaching Assistants lead students in rotating afternoon clubs such as gaming, arts and crafts, and performance activities.

Course Details and Supplies

Students engage directly with their instructor and classmates through an online video conferencing platform (Zoom) for the duration of the course. 

All course materials (documents, videos, discussion boards) are posted in Schoology, CTD's secure, online learning platform.

Supplies: Some courses may have required or recommended supplies, including books or print-outs, that families will be responsible for obtaining prior to the course. Supply lists and recommended suppliers will be provided to parents at least 10 days prior to the course in which they are needed. Courses with more significant supply requirements include a materials fee so CTD can facilitate ordering and shipping.

Social and Recreational Experiences

Summer Program staff are preparing a wide range of fun, creative social and recreational activities that will foster friendships with peers from around the world and cultivate personal interests and passions through on-going clubs and rotating physical activities. Pre-recorded social-emotional learning opportunities such as journaling and meditation will help students start their day before jumping into classwork.

Technology and Technical Requirements

Students are required to have a laptop or tablet with a camera, a microphone, speakers and/or audio jack, the ability to type/keyboard, and the ability to connect to the Internet. Students need access to a stable internet connection and an updated web browser. 

Zoom is the conferencing software that will be used for the live course sessions. We recommend watching the Zoom for Students tutorial video prior to the start of class. 

Course materials (including the link to the course’s Zoom classroom) are hosted in Schoology, which is a learning management system designed for K-12 students. Schoology is a web-based application, so no software is required. Instructions to setup student accounts will be shared with families upon acceptance to the program.

Program Orientation

Student acceptance emails will contain a link to a Family Information webpage that includes program information and the Student and Family Handbook.

Instructors will help students navigate the features that will be utilized within Zoom at the start of the class. CTD still recommends, however, that students watch the Zoom for Students tutorial video prior to the start of class.

Primary communication with the course instructor and/or classmates occurs during synchronous sessions in Zoom and through Schoology messages.

Student Evaluations

All students who successfully complete a Spectrum Online course receive a brief narrative evaluation that includes comments on the student’s performance in class, grade and credits earned (if applicable) as well as recommendations for future study. These evaluations are available 6 weeks after the final class of the session.

Contact Us

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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