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! 

Details

Application Process

AWE welcomes applications from new applicants, returning applicants and portfolio applicants. When beginning 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 are in grade 3 through grade 8 and you meet either one of the following criteria:

  • You have never attended any Center for Talent Development program and you have qualifying test scores (see eligibility section below) that are no more than two years old.
  • You have previously attended a Weekend Enrichment Program, Gifted LearningLinks Program or the Summer Program, but you are now applying for a course in a different subject area and you have qualifying test scores.

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

  • Within the last two years, 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 an AWE 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 are in grade 3 through grade 8 and you meet the following criterion:

  • You do not have qualifying test scores because you have either 1) never taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test or 2) taken this type of test but not achieved a qualifying test score (see eligibility section below). 

Eligibility

To qualify for AWE admission, students must be enrolled in grades 3 through 8 (depending on the course) and provide evidence of one of the following:

  • Within the last two years, successful completion of a Center for Talent Development Saturday Enrichment Program, Gifted LearningLinks or Summer Program course in the subject area of the AWE course to which the student is applying;
  • Within the last two years, a national percentile score at the 90th percentile or above on a nationally normed standardized test in the subject area of the AWE course to which the student is applying;
  • Participation in above-grade-level testing such as the EXPLORE® test taken in grades 3, 4, 5 or 6 or the ACT® or SAT® in grade 6, 7, 8 or 9 (NUMATS); or
  • Submission of an Admission Portfolio.

Admission Portfolio
An Admission Portfolio includes the following documents:

  • Required: one teacher recommendation form indicating the student is performing 1½ to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the AWE course to which the student is applying;
  • Required: 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; any results of EXPLORE®, ACT®, SAT® or other nationally normed test

Homeschooler Admission Portfolio
A Homeschooler Admission Portfolio includes:

  • Two teacher recommendations 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.

Acceptable Tests for AWE Eligibility
To prove eligibility, applicants may submit one of the following tests taken within the last two years demonstrating a score in the 90th percentile or above (National Percentile Rank):

  • EXPLORE®, ACT® or SAT® Test
  • Stanford Achievement Test
  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
  • Terra Nova Test
  • ERB Tests: Comprehensive Testing Program, Independent School Entrance Exam
  • Northwest Evaluation Association Tests (NWEA): Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), MAP for Primary Grades
  • Otis-Lennon Test
  • Kaufman Test of Education Achievement (KTEA)
  • Weschler Tests: WPPSI, WISC, WIAT
  • Woodcock-Johnson Test
  • Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT)
  • California Achievement Test
  • PSAT®
  • Any other achievement test with a National Percentile Rank (NPR %)
  • PARCC Test Update: Because new data is available on the validity and reliability of PARCC tests, CTD will now accept PARCC scores for admission to some programs. PARCC scores in the Exceeds category (Math or English/Language Arts) may be used to qualify for enrichment programming that requires a grade-level achievement score at the 90th percentile or 95th percentile.

Financial Aid Opportunities

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.

  • The amount of financial aid awarded varies from partial to full tuition, and awards are based on family income and extenuating circumstances (e.g., loss of job, unforeseen medical expenses, etc.). Most families awarded aid have a total household income of less than $50,000.
  • Financial aid is awarded for one program and one session per child.
  • To be considered for financial aid, families must complete the Financial Aid Application, available once a family has applied through the online application. All supporting materials (tax information, statement of need, etc.) must be included in the financial aid submission in order for an application for financial aid to be considered.

Course Environment & Locations

The AWE program is offered in locations throughout the Midwest 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.  One week prior to the event, a second email is sent that contains:

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

Courses

Inspired Engineering: Fantastic Solutions to Everyday Challenges (Gr. 3-4, Chicago, IL)

March 3, 2018 - March 4, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

What is a physical task you do every day that could be easier? What gadget could you design that would make it less challenging? Armed with everyday materials, creativity and the engineering design process, students develop innovative solutions to daily tasks. Young engineers explore complex kinetic systems inspired by Rube Goldberg, and seek inspiration in art, music and literary characters to expand their understanding of problem-solving. Students collaborate to design, build, test and revise solutions in this project-based class.
Subject area: Engineering

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Chicago, IL

Building the Future: Engineering & Design (Gr. 5-6, Chicago, IL)

March 3, 2018 - March 4, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

How is the expansive roof of a stadium supported, and why don't we see skyscrapers built out of wood? Why are some bridges low and flat, while others reach for the clouds? In this project-based course, young engineers investigate how different materials and structural shapes affect the design process, and learn about the budgetary and aesthetic considerations that affect any project. Armed with everyday materials, creativity and the principles of engineering, students develop innovative solutions to a variety of engineering challenges.
Subject area: Engineering

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Chicago, IL

Programming in 3D (Gr. 5-6, Manteno, IL)

March 10, 2018 - March 11, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Create virtual worlds and interactive games with the 3-D programming tool Alice 3.x. Students develop a sample project from the ground up, while learning about object-oriented programming concepts and standard programming statements similar to those in Java, C++ and C#. By manipulating 3-D objects in Alice, students experience programming constructs. Students gain:
• Experience with the Alice software applications.
• An understanding of object-oriented programming.
• An ability to manipulate 3-D objects and animations.
• Exposure to C++ and Java syntax and logic.
• Knowledge required to complete a virtual world project.
Subject area: Technology

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Manteno, IL

Design Studio: Engineering for Sustainability (Gr. 7-8, Manteno, IL)

March 10, 2018 - March 11, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

How can we look at problems and create new, thoughtful designs that solve them? How can we design packaging that can create a garden rather than end up in a landfill? Students will work to solve real world problems using human-centered and sustainable design concepts. Using a "cradle to cradle" approach to design, students will pay special attention to the entire life cycle of the design object, its impact on humanity and the environment, and its ability to be "upcycled." Young designers will invent unique solutions to design challenges through hands-on engagement in the engineering design process, collaboration, and creative problem solving.
Subject area: Engineering

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Manteno, IL

Architecture & SketchUp (Gr. 3-4, Evanston, IL)

March 24, 2018 - March 25, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

SketchUp 3D Modeling is a 3D software tool that allows the user to create and modify 3D models. Students learn the primary functions of SketchUp and how to navigate and create objects in a 3D computer-modeling environment. Additionally, students design and create physical models out of a variety of materials, learning about the design process, and geometric, spatial, and architectural concepts. To learn more about SketchUp: http://sketchup.com/
Subject area: Technology; Engineering

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Evanston, IL

Spies: The Science of Espionage (Gr. 3-4, Evanston, IL)

March 24, 2018 - March 25, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Since ancient times, societies have used various communication networks to protect their people and gain intelligence about their foes. In this espionage course, young spies will discover the scientific and mathematical concepts behind such real-life spy skills as cryptography, code breaking, remote sensing, and surveillance. In this hands-on course, students will also practice problem-solving skills as well as engineer their own sleuthing gadget. 
Subject: Science

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Science
Location
Evanston, IL

Building the Future: Engineering & Design (Gr. 5-6, Evanston, IL)

March 24, 2018 - March 25, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

How is the expansive roof of a stadium supported, and why don't we see skyscrapers built out of wood? Why are some bridges low and flat, while others reach for the clouds? In this project-based course, young engineers investigate how different materials and structural shapes affect the design process, and learn about the budgetary and aesthetic considerations that affect any project. Armed with everyday materials, creativity and the principles of engineering, students develop innovative solutions to a variety of engineering challenges.
Subject area: Engineering

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Evanston, IL

Biotechnology (Gr. 7-8, Evanston, IL)

March 24, 2018 - March 25, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Biotechnology is an exciting and rapidly developing area of science which integrates subjects ranging from art and design to zoology. Discuss the beneficial and controversial aspects of the field, and see how biotechnology attempts to develop solutions to societal problems. Through hands-on projects and explorations, students apply knowledge gleaned from the biology classroom to generate real-world solutions. Explore recent breakthroughs in stem cell biology, genetic engineering, and ecology to understand how these novel scientific discoveries are applied to address problems from cancer to world hunger.
Subject area: Science

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Evanston, IL

Zoological Explorations: Animals and their Behavior (Gr. 3-4, Rockford, IL)

April 7, 2018 - April 8, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Through hands-on experiments and discovery, learn about the incredible diversity of the animal kingdom and the unique adaptations that animals have to their environments. Uncover the many behaviors animals use to claim a territory, find food, avoid predators, find mates, and raise their young. Student zoologists perform hands-on investigations, analyze data, and draw conclusions about their observations to learn more about the background of animal behavior. Activities include, but are not limited to creating an ethogram, designing choice chambers, observing human behaviors, and regenerating planaria.
Subject Area: Science

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Science
Location
Rockford, IL

Forensic Science (Gr. 5-6, Rockford, IL)

April 7, 2018 - April 8, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Forensic Scientists use skills and techniques that come from a variety of disciplines—logic, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and technology—to solve mysteries. This course covers observational skills, perceptual fallacies, codes and code breaking, osteology, chromatography, criminology and more. Students will extract DNA, take fingerprints, analyze blood spatters and discuss famous-and infamous-cases.
Subject Area: Science

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Science
Location
Rockford, IL

Cognitive Neuroscience (Gr. 7-8, Rockford, IL)

April 7, 2018 - April 8, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Recent investigations into the neurobiological underpinnings of thought have yielded critical insights into the mind’s architecture. Students explore how neuroscientists use a variety of methods to tackle problems and critically examine the information the professionals have discovered. With lecture and interactive laboratory-style activities, students become familiar with some of the brain’s secrets and gain an understanding of learning and memory, brain imaging, neural networks, neuroethics and more. 
Subject area: Science 

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Science
Location
Rockford, IL

Inspired Engineering: Fantastic Solutions to Everyday Challenges (Gr. 5-6, Tacoma, WA)

April 14, 2018 - April 15, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

What is a physical task you do every day that could be easier? What gadget could you design that would make it less challenging? Armed with everyday materials, creativity and the engineering design process, students develop innovative solutions to daily tasks. Young engineers explore complex kinetic systems inspired by Rube Goldberg, and seek inspiration in art, music and literary characters to expand their understanding of problem-solving. Students collaborate to design, build, test and revise solutions in this project-based class.
Subject Area: Engineering

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Tacoma, WA

Forensics & Criminal Behavior (Gr. 7-8, Tacoma, WA)

April 14, 2018 - April 15, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Forensic scientists and criminologists cultivate skills from a variety of disciplines—logic, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology—to solve mysteries. In this course, young scientists learn observational skills, critical thinking, chromatography, blood confirmation and species identification, criminal profiling, and more. With hands-on projects, students collaboratively investigate a simulated crime using behavioral profiling; analyzing blood spatters and handwriting; and examining fiber, hair, and glass fragments.
Subject Area: Science

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Science
Location
Tacoma, WA

Programming in 3D (Gr. 3-4, Chicago, IL)

April 21, 2018 - April 22, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Create virtual worlds and interactive games with the 3-D programming tool Alice 3.x. Students develop a sample project from the ground up, while learning about object-oriented programming concepts and standard programming statements similar to those in Java, C++ and C#. By manipulating 3-D objects in Alice, students experience programming constructs. Students gain:

  • Experience with the Alice software applications.
  • An understanding of object-oriented programming.
  • An ability to manipulate 3-D objects and animations.
  • Exposure to C++ and Java syntax and logic.
  • Knowledge required to complete a virtual world project.

Subject Area: Technology

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Chicago, IL

Stop-Motion Animation (Gr. 5-6, Chicago, IL)

April 21, 2018 - April 22, 2018 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Description

Animation is a powerful and creative way to deliver storylines, reports and the recounting of events. Created in part by Tufts University’s Center for Engineering Education, SAM animation software allows students to create frame-by-frame animations. Participants learn to make stop-action movies that can be overlaid with text, narrated or set to music. Engaging, engrossing and inspiring, the tales to be told are endless.
Subject area: Technology

Program
AWE
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Location
Chicago, IL
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