AWE is coming to a town near YOU!

Scroll down to see what courses are being offered in the coming months in the Midwest and on the West Coast! 


Application Process

The Accelerated Weekend Enrichment (AWE) Program welcomes applications from returning applicants as well as new score and portfolio applicants. Before beginning the online application, determine which type of applicant you are based on the descriptions below.


Returning Applicant
You are a returning applicant if you are grade 3 through grade 8 and you meet both of the following criteria: 

  • You have successfully completed a CTD course through the Weekend Enrichment Program, Summer Program or Online Program at the Emerald Tier, or a tier with a higher score requirement, within the previous twenty-four months. 
  • You are now applying for an AWE course with the same qualifying subject area (Verbal or Math) as a CTD course you previously completed within the previous twenty-four months.

New Scores Applicant
You are a new scores applicant if you are grade 3 through grade 8 and you meet any one of the following criteria:

  • You have not attended a CTD program within the last two years and you have qualifying grade-level test scores (Verbal or Math) for your desired course that are no more than two years old.
  • You have previously attended a course with the Weekend Enrichment Program, Summer Program, or CTD Online Program, but you are now applying for a course with a different qualifying subject area (Verbal or Math) and you have qualifying grade-level test scores. 
  • You have participated in above grade-level testing such as the PSAT™8/9 test taken in grades 3, 4, 5, or 6, the ACT® or SAT® test taken in grades 6, 7 or 8 (NUMATS);


New Portfolio Applicant
You are a portfolio applicant if you are in grade 3 through grade 8 and the following is applicable to you:

  • You do not have qualifying test scores because you have either:

             1) never taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test 


             2) taken this type of test but not achieved a qualifying score.


An Admission Portfolio includes the following documents:

  • Required: one teacher recommendation form 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 AWE course to which the student is applying; 
  • If available: most recent state testing report (e.g. NWEA/MAP); or any results of a grade-level test such as PSAT™8/9 taken in middle school.


Traditionally, AWE courses do not have prerequisites. Please read individual course descriptions carefully for more information. 

To qualify for Emerald tier Accelerated Weekend Enrichment (AWE) Program courses, students must be in grade 3 through grade 8 and must also provide one of the following:

  • Achievement of  a score of 90thpercentile or higher on a nationally normed grade-level assessment in the required qualifying subject area (Verbal or Math) for the desired course; OR
  • Successful past completion of a CTD course, with the same qualifying subject area within the past two years; OR
  • 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; OR
  • Participationin above grade-level testing such as the PSAT™8/9 test taken in grades 3, 4, 5, or 6, the ACT® or SAT® test taken in grades 6, 7 or 8 (NUMATS)

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 and Accelerated Placement web page for more information about the process, timeline, and required materials.

Fees, Withdrawals and Financial Aid


Accelerated Weekend Experience

  • 2018-19 Academic Year $265 (2-day course)

Withdrawal Policy

  • Requests for withdrawals and refunds must be made in writing by the Tuesday prior to the course start date. E-mail requests should be sent to
  •  Withdrawals are subject to a processing fee of $60.
  • The tuition is nonrefundable after the Tuesday prior to the course start date.
  • Students who withdraw after the start of the program are not eligible for any refund.
  • Once a refund has been initiated, it may take up to six weeks to appear in the account from which it was paid, depending on the type of account and the billing cycles.

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 AWE programs is approximately 2 weeks prior to the start of the session.
  • You will recieve the FACTS application link in your application confirmation email once the 60 dollar tuition deposit is paid and the application is submitted.
  • Beginning in August of 2019 CTD has one FACTS application link for all 2019-2020 programs.  It is no longer necessary to attach different program links to your FACTS account if applying to multiple programs for the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • 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 2018-2019 academic year for CTD you must still attach the 2019-2020 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.

Course Cancellation

In the event that CTD cancels a course (due to low enrollment, or other unforeseen factors) in advance of a program start date, families will be contacted immediately, offered other course options, and will be provided a full refund if no available course options are feasible for the family.

Course Environment & Locations

The AWE program is offered in locations throughout the US for students in grades 3 through 8. Since sites have many attractions nearby, parents and family members can pursue their choice of activities while students are in class.

AWE courses are from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Students break for 45 minutes each day to eat lunch they have brought.

AWE courses are continually updated as dates and sites are confirmed. Check back often for new course offerings!

Safety & Conduct

The AWE staff takes every reasonable step to ensure the safety and well-being of every AWE student, including the following:

  • Requiring a high standard for student conduct; and
  • Protecting student information. 

High Standards for Student Conduct
In order to maintain a safe and inviting learning environment, AWE participants must adhere to the CTD Honor Code. The Honor Code establishes standards and expectations for student behavior and reflects CTD's commitment to fostering character development, integrity and respect for diversity.

Protecting Student Information
Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern University is committed to protecting the privacy rights of all children. Our protocol, with regards to the data and information we collect and what is done with it, is outlined in the Privacy Statement section of the Policy Statements web page.

Program Orientation

Acceptance notifications are sent via e-mail two to three weeks following receipt of a completed application. Please pay special attention to this notification. During the week before AWE, a second email is sent that contains:

• Classroom location
• Program orientation
• Program policies
• Supplies
• Behavioral expectations

Copyright 2014 Northwestern University Center for Talent Development