GLL Advanced Placement Page Block with Video

Gifted LearningLinks allows high ability students to:

  • Access advanced subject matter, including credit-bearing honors and AP® level courses
  • Learn at an accelerated pace anytime and anywhere
  • Receive personalized guidance from expert instructors
  • Engage online with peers from around the world

Stay sharp!

"Go for it! I really enjoyed taking a course with ASO. It definitely is challenging, but I feel it was worth it" – 2016 ASO participant

"This was a defining experience for me. Time management is crucial but after 9 weeks of hard work, I've completed an honors level class." - 2016 ASO participant

"Thank you so much for a great educational experience! I will definitely be recommending my course and the ASO program to my fellow peers for next summer." - 2017 ASO participant


A note to an ASO instructor:  "You have been an amazing teacher and this course thoroughly prepared me for my district test. I did really well! Thank you so much for everything that you have done and I was very lucky to have you as my teacher. I may not have done as well without all of your encouragement and support. Thanks again! "




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Video Tutorial | CTD Online Application


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Application Process

The Gifted LearningLinks (GLL) program welcomes applications from new applicants, returning applicants and portfolio applicants. To begin the application process, click on the applicant type best suited to you based on the descriptions below.

New Applicant
You are a new applicant if you meet either one of the following criteria:

  •  You have never attended any Center for Talent Development program (CTD) and you have qualifying talent search test scores (EXPLORE®, ACT® or SAT®) from an American academic talent search program such as Northwestern University's Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS) , Western Academic Talent Search (WATS), Duke Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP), Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Talent Search, or Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS). Students from India, Kuwait, Singapore or the United Arab Emirates who have participated in the ASSET Talent Search and earned scores at or above the 90th percentile may also qualify on the basis of their test scores. (More information is available on CTD’s ASSET Talent Search page.)

  • You have previously attended another CTD program, but are now applying for a course in a different subject area and you have qualifying test scores.

Returning Applicant
You are a returning applicant if you meet both of the following criteria:

  • You have successfully completed a Center for Talent Development (CTD) course through the Saturday Enrichment Program, Summer Program or Gifted LearningLinks Program.
  • You are now applying for a GLL course in the same subject area of the CTD course you previously completed and wish to use your old scores as evidence of your qualifications for the program.

Portfolio Applicant
You are a portfolio applicant if you meet the following criterion:

  • You do not have qualifying test scores because you have either:
    • Never participated in a talent search.
    • Participated in a talent search, but did not achieve a qualifying test score.

Admission portfolios consist of:

  • One teacher recommendation indicating student is performing 1.5 to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the course to which the student is applying;
  • Current school report card indicating exceptional performance in the subject area of the course to which the student is applying;
  • Most recent state testing report, if available; and
  • Any results of EXPLORE®, ACT®, SAT® or other nationally normed test, if available.

Homeschooler Admission Portfolio
A Homeschooler Admission Portfolio includes:

  • Two teacher recommendation forms from adults unrelated to the applicant; and 
  • Parent’s statement describing the student’s learning in the appropriate academic area over the past year, including references to curriculum, books, projects and activities.

Additionally, the Homeschooler Admission Portfolio may include any or all of the following, depending on availability:

  • Copies of the student’s best work in the appropriate academic area; 
  • Copies of teacher evaluations from any classes taken from umbrella schools, co-ops, etc.; 
  • Copies of any available standardized test reports taken in the last 24 months; 
  • Copy of transcript or grade report for current academic year (Please indicate if this was produced by a parent); and
  • Any other information that might provide insight into the student’s academic strengths and help us place him/her in the appropriate course.

Documents such as test scores and report cards can be uploaded directly to a student's application via MyCTD. 


Course prerequisites are included in the course descriptions.

Course Environment

Students will work independently, guided by an instructor providing rigorous coursework and feedback.

Students should be active learners, able to learn without face-to-face interaction, communicate regularly and meet academic and technical challenges.

While courses are designed for flexible pacing, students must be able to dedicate up to 30 hours per week for timely completion. Gifted and high ability students who enroll in one-credit honors elective or AP® courses should plan to spend 10 to 15 hours per week working on class assignments, and those who enroll in two-credit honors or AP® courses should expect to spend 20 to 30 hours per week working on class assignments. Because of the intensive nature of ASO courses, families of ASO students are encouraged to explore the pacing guide provided at the beginning of each course together and work with enrolled students to allocate sufficient time for study in the student’s and family’s summer schedule.

The ability to manage deadlines, stay focused and persevere will be essential to a successful experience.

Students must be able to work at an accelerated pace.

Program Orientation

  • Acceptance notifications are sent via e-mail upon receipt of a completed application.
  • 24 - 48 hours prior to the course start date, students receive login information allowing them to gain access to the learning management system (LMS), Schoology, which houses GLL courses.
  • Course access begins on the official start date.
  • The GLL experience starts with a virtual online orientation for all new students (returning students are welcome to repeat the orientation).
  • Syllabi, assignments, timelines, discussion boards, links and more are found on the course site, which is available 24/7.
  • Primary communication with the course instructor and/or classmates occurs within the learning management system.  Depending on the nature of the subject matter and student preferences, instructors may use additional tools including, but not limited to, discussion boards, the phone, and online class meetings such as Skype, Adobe Connect and/or Google apps.
  • ASO courses utilize the same textbooks as their full-term counterparts, available through the CTD online bookstore.
  • Students will receive one or two high school credits upon successful completion of the course. Students who are unable to complete their coursework in nine weeks, but have made significant progress in the course, may apply for and purchase up to three one-month extensions ($100 each month).  Students should contact their instructor for further information.
  • Students who would like to start a course in the summer but who would like a less intensive pace can also choose from regular (non-ASO) one and two semester courses with summer start dates.


A transcript will be mailed to the student following completion of the course. Due to the compacted nature of the program, narrative evaluations will not be available. Students will receive one high school credit for each semester successfully completed with a grade of C- or better.

As an accredited institution, CTD issues credits to students successfully completing honors and AP® courses. However, acceptance of CTD credits is a local school decision. Students should discuss this option with their academic counselor or school administrator.

For Schools

Gifted LearningLinks offers special group tuition rates to schools, regional and state education agencies, gifted parent groups, and homeschooling organizations that sign up five or more students.

GLL’s online learning platform allows local teachers, gifted coordinators, or counselors to communicate with their students and monitor their progress and grades in credit-bearing courses, making GLL courses easy to integrate with in-school learning. 

Schools and groups may apply for a School Group Code, which allows students to bypass the payment section of an application.

For more information on how schools can partner with Gifted LearningLinks, visit our Partner Opportunities page.

Qualifying Test Scores

Requisite scores in the subject area of the course applied for on an above-grade-level test through NUMATS or similar program:

EXPLORE® test taken in grade 5 or 6 (if applying as a student in grade 7 or 8)

  • R: 16, M: 17 &/or S: 18

ACT® or SAT® test taken in grade 6, 7, 8, or 9, or

  • ACT® : R: 22, M: 22 &/or S: 23
  • SAT®:  R: 510, M 520

Successful completion, within the past two years, of a previous CTD credit or credit intensive course with the same qualifying subject area criteria

See CTD Eligibility for more details.

Technical Requirements

  •  Students need access to a stable internet connection and updated web browser.
  • Participation in “live” online sessions may require a computer microphone or headset.
  • While iPads and tablet computers may be sufficient for most coursework, some web tools and/or websites may require the use of a computer or laptop.
Copyright 2014 Northwestern University Center for Talent Development