CivicWeek Page Block with Video

CivicWeek participants...

  • Engage in hands-on service in communities
  • Gain valuable exposure to career fields
  • Learn about important social problems and inspiring solutions
  • Develop and practice leadership skills
  • Explore an exciting city
  • Build lasting friendships with bright, motivated peers
  • Earn service hours while making a difference
  • Discover ways to create positive change



Make a Difference
Engage in meaningful, eye-opening service each day. Projects range from serving a meal to the hungry, to running activities at a youth center, to conducting outreach for a neighborhood organization. 

Explore Careers
Gain hands-on experience with community issues. Meet with government, business, and nonprofit leaders at the top of their fields and get behind-the-scenes access to career fields of interest. Gain rich material for college admissions essays, job and internship interviews, and future academic endeavors.

Develop Leadership
Sharpen communication, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. Broaden your perspective on the world through learning and dialogue with peers, staff, and community leaders.

Experience City Life
Live retreat-style in a hostel or community center in the heart of the city. Prepare and share meals as a group, and navigate the city like a local on public transit. Learn more about CivicWeek Housing Sites

Build Community
Connect with diverse, like-minded peers from across the country in an enriching living-learning community. Build strong and lasting friendships and hone your interpersonal and teamwork skills. 

View Sample Daily & Weekly Schedules View Topic-Specific Itineraries 

Credit & Service Hours

Participants earn up to 40 hours of service-learning credit (including up to 25 hours of direct service) toward school or extracurricular requirements. 

Evaluations & Transcripts
All students receive a narrative evaluation after completion of the program. The evaluation provides feedback on the student’s achievements in the program and outlines areas for further growth. Students also receive certification of service hours. Evaluation materials are sent to families (and schools, if requested) approximately six weeks following the completion of the program. CEP is also happy to complete any specific forms required for students to earn service hours; contact our office for assistance with this.


The safety of program participants is paramount at all times. We take careful steps to ensure the well-being of our students, including:

Hiring Experienced Staff Members
Our staff is a talented group of educators brought together by their commitment to teaching highly able young people about civic engagement and social responsibility. The lead staff member on each program is typically a high school teacher or other education or youth development professional with expertise in service-learning. The assistant staff members on each program are typically college graduates working in the education or nonprofit fields, graduate students, or exceptional senior-level undergraduates. All staff are selected through a highly competitive process that weighs such factors as academic background, service-learning experience, and experience working with youth in a residential setting. The process also includes a criminal background check. Alumni consistently report that one of the best aspects of the program is the quality of the staff teams.

Working with Established & Well-Respected Host Agencies 
We work closely with host organizations to provide safe volunteer and learning environments. Host agencies orient students to the communities and activities they will be engaged in and outline precautions students can take to minimize risk and help ensure the safety and well-being of all group members.

Providing Careful Supervision 
While students are ultimately responsible for their own conduct, our trained staff teams provide clear guidelines and careful supervision. Our programs maintain small class or group sizes of 12 to 18 students, and offer a high staff to student ratio of at least one staff member for every six students.

Requiring a High Standard of Student Conduct 
Our programs are highly structured and operate with a strict set of rules regarding appropriate boundaries and staff supervision. These rules help to ensure the well-being of our students and staff, and all students who attend must be committed to respecting them. Students and families are asked to review our Honor Code so that all participants are aware of the program's expectations and their personal responsibility to contribute to a positive living and learning environment. 

Safeguarding Student Health 
Staff members keep health information about each participant on hand at all times and are available to screen student medical concerns and provide first aid. Students who become ill or injured are taken to walk-in clinics or emergency rooms for treatment. Families are responsible for all health care costs incurred by their children during the program.

Ensuring Emergency Preparedness
We are committed to ensuring the highest level of preparedness for all types of emergencies. Creating and maintaining a safe and secure program environment is a responsibility shared by administrators, staff, and students. Administrators organize service experiences and plan travel routes with an eye to safety and supervision. Staff monitor weather conditions and alter outdoor program activities in the event of inclement conditions. Staff are trained on fire, weather emergency, and evacuation plans and protocols and prepared to manage emergency situations. Finally, students are oriented to ways they can help ensure their own and their fellow group members' safety and well-being.

For information about how we manage Internet use and student privacy, as well as discrimination, disabilities, and sexual harassment, please review CTD's Policy Statements.




Each CivicWeek program brings together a diverse group of bright, motivated high school or junior high students with an interest in service and a desire to develop leadership skills. 

CivicWeek is open to students who:

  • are enrolled in grade 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12;
  • can demonstrate a high level of academic ability (through a test score or admission portfolio – see below);
  • and have a sincere interest in learning about communities, social issues, and civic engagement. 

Application Requirements

How to Qualify
Students can qualify as a:

  • Test Score Applicant
  • Admission Portfolio Applicant
  • Recent Participant

Test Score Applicants must submit:

  • a 90th percentile or above reading or verbal score on a nationally normed standardized test taken within the last two years;
  • OR participation in above-grade-level testing through Northwestern University's Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS) or similar service within the last two years.

Admission Portfolio Applicants must submit:

  • most recent school report card or transcript, demonstrating academic achievement in relevant subject areas;
  • one completed Recommendation Form from an adult familiar with the student’s work in an academic, service, and/or leadership context;
  • most recent standardized test scores (if available).

Recent Participants who have successfully completed any Civic Education Project program or another Center for Talent Development course in the social sciences or humanities within the past two years do not need to submit supporting materials.

School Break Dates & Availability

While CivicWeek programs often coincide with students’ school breaks, some school schedules may not coincide, or students may simply have an interest in a topic or location not offered during their school break. Because CivicWeek is an educational program, many schools will excuse students from class in order to participate. This is a decision families should make in partnership with teachers and school administrators.

International Students

Visit the International Students page for more information.


Tuition & Fees

 Tuition includes all program expenses:

  • Lodging and meals throughout the program
  • Transportation to and from program activities
  • Service project materials and speaker fees
  • Staff instruction and 24-hour supervision, with a staff to student ratio of at least 1:6
  • Recreational expenses
Note: Students are responsible for their own travel to and from the program site. CivicWeek offers a shuttle service to the site from the nearest major airport for a small fee.

Early Application Tuition

Regular Application Tuition

Weeklong Program $1,395 $1,495
4-day Program $925 $975


Payment Policies

  • Applications received by January 15 (for spring programs) and March 15 (for summer programs) are subject to the early bird tuition rate; applications received after these dates are subject to the regular tuition rate.
  • All applications must be accompanied by a tuition deposit of $260. Financial aid applicants may pay a reduced tuition deposit of $60.
  • The tuition balance is due within 30 days of admission to the program, and no later than the regular application deadline of March 1 (for spring programs) & May 14 (for summer programs). Students with an outstanding balance at these deadlines may lose their place in the program.
  • Applications received after the regular application deadline must be accompanied by payment in full.
  • Payments may be made by credit card or by check or money order made payable to Center for Talent Development.

Financial Aid

Need-based financial aid is available to eligible students. Families who wish to apply for financial aid should submit a Financial Aid Application through FACTS, our online system, selecting the year 2017-2018. Most families awarded aid have a total household income of less than $50,000.

Requests for assistance typically exceed resources available, so families seeking aid are encouraged to apply early. The financial aid application deadline is February 15 (for spring programs) and April 13 (for summer programs). Financial aid funds are granted on a rolling basis beginning in November.

Families seeking aid are also encouraged to apply for the payment plan (see below), as financial aid awards may not cover the entire tuition fee.

An award letter reflecting the amount of financial aid granted and balance due will be e-mailed to families of admitted students within two weeks of receipt of a complete financial aid application (including all supporting materials). Any remaining balance is due within 30 days, unless arrangements have been made for a payment plan. Admission decisions are not contingent upon award of financial aid.

Payment Plan

A four-month payment plan option is available to all families. The payment plan application is available upon enrollment and acceptance to the program.

Families who do not apply or qualify for financial aid are assessed a service charge of $50 for the payment plan. The first payment is due upon acceptance to the program, and subsequent payments are due on the 15th of each month following. Payments must be up to date on opening day in order for students to check in to the program.

Other Sources of Support

We strongly suggest that families with financial need also seek outside support. Accepted students should start soliciting additional funds right away. Schools, local religious or community organizations, businesses, local government offices, friends, and relatives are all potential sources of support. Some students have successfully raised their entire tuition this way!

Refunds & Withdrawals

  • All requests for refunds and/or withdrawals must be made in writing.
  • Prior to the regular application deadline (March 1 for spring programs and May 14 for summer programs), tuition payments are fully refundable, less a withdrawal processing fee of $60. If the student is not accepted into the program, all program choices are closed or canceled, or financial aid is not adequate for participation, the withdrawal processing fee is waived.
  • Students who withdraw after the regular application deadline but before the start of the program are refunded 50% of tuition, less the withdrawal processing fee.
  • Students who withdraw after the start of the program or are dismissed for disciplinary reasons are not eligible for any refund.
  • Refunds may take up to eight weeks to process.


Step #1:
Submit an Online Application including:

Step #2:
Submit Supporting Documents as required, including:

Students and families will receive a confirmation e-mail when the application is complete.

Apply Now

Complete applications are reviewed on a rolling basis beginning in November and space is limited, so students are encouraged to apply early to increase their chances of attending their program of choice. Students who apply by January 15 (for spring programs) and March 15 (for summer programs) receive a discounted tuition rate.

The regular application deadline is March 1 (for spring programs) and May 14 (for summer programs). Late applications may be accepted and considered as space in the program permits.

Program Placement

Students able to consider more than one program option should rank their placement preferences on the application. (Students who wish to apply for program options that cross different timeframes should submit an application for their first choice program, then contact us to add additional program choices to their application.) Accepted students are assigned to programs based on a variety of factors, including their placement preferences, the space available for each program, and the composition of each group.


Students are notified via e-mail of the status of their application within two weeks of receipt of a complete application (including all supporting materials). Accepted students receive admissions materials via e-mail at that time, including housing and travel details, a packing list, health information, and program rules and policies.

Important Dates

  Spring 2018 Programs Summer 2018 Programs           
Applications Open                              November 15, 2017 November 15, 2017
Early Bird Application Deadline January 15, 2018                  March 15, 2018               
Financial Aid Deadline February 15, 2018 April 13, 2018
Regular Application Deadline March 1, 2018 May 14, 2018 (still accepting applications)


Contact US

For information regarding CivicWeek admissions, contact:

For information about CivicWeek or other CEP programs, contact:

Copyright 2014 Northwestern University Center for Talent Development