GLL Honors 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

Expand Advanced Course Offerings

GLL Honors courses are a great option for expanding course offerings for advanced students. Schools of all sizes can offer advanced and specialized courses to ensure gifted students are engaged and continue to grow academically by partnering with GLL.


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 recommendations 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 personalized feedback.

Students should be active learners with strong communication skills and a desire to learn through technology.

While courses are designed for flexible pacing, students should plan to spend 5-7 hours per week for timely completion. The ability to manage deadlines, stay focused and persevere will be essential to a successful experience.

Program Orientation

  • Acceptance notifications are sent via e-mail upon receipt of a completed application.
  • 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, discussion boards, links, additional resources and a recommended schedule for completing the course in nine months are found on the course site, which is available 24/7.
  • Students who wish to accelerate through the course in a shorter time frame can discuss target completion dates with the instructor during the first week of the course. Students enrolled in honors courses have up to 36 weeks from their official start date to complete their course(s). GLL grants written requests for extensions on an individual basis, with the approval of the instructor and GLL staff, and assesses a $100 fee for each month of extension. The maximum allowable course extension is three consecutive months beyond the original 36-week time frame.
  • 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.
  • Some GLL courses require textbooks and/or lab kits purchased separately. Text requirements are listed and available for purchase through the CTD online bookstore. Students are encouraged to confirm book information with their instructors before ordering.


Students will receive a letter grade and narrative evaluation with comments on the student’s academic progress at the end of the first semester and again at the end of the course. For each semester successfully completed with a grade of C- or better, students will receive one high school credit through CTD. Transcripts will be mailed to the home address. Students who wish to have a transcript mailed to their school should choose the “Send Transcript” option on the application.

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 7th or 8th grade student)

  • R: 14, M: 15 &/or S: 16

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

  • ACT® : R: 19, M: 18 &/or S: 18
  • SAT®:  R: 440, M 460

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.

New! Hybrid In-Person & Online Courses for grades 6-9

What is a hybrid course?

Hybrid courses combine in-person instruction with an online learning environment.  These “blended” courses offer the flexibility to complete a course for high school credit by meeting face-to-face for two full weekends, in addition to engaging online course work. Hybrid courses offer high school credit.  

 Why should I consider a hybrid course?

 Hybrid courses are ideal for motivated and independent learners with busy schedules. These courses allow students to participate in labs and projects face-to-face, and continue engaging with their instructors and classmates during the academic year in an online environment.

  • Admission Requirements: see the eligibility criteria for honors courses, above.
  • Students must be available for these on-site weekends on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, IL.
  • Students should anticipate 5-7 hours of online course work each week
  • Acceptance of credits by student’s school depends on that school’s institutional policy. Discuss credit acceptance with appropriate school administrator before applying if you are planning to receive credit at your school.
  • Apply now by choosing the "Hybrid" program option in the MyCTD Toolbox




What is the difference between the various categories of courses?

Family Program courses are for students in grades K-3. Your child does not need test scores to qualify for these courses, which are designed for parents and children to work on together. These courses begin four (4) times each year.

Core Essentials and Enrichment courses are for students in grades 3-8. Core Essentials courses are standard academic offerings while Enrichment courses are electives. Sessions begin four (4) times each year and last nine (9) weeks. They require approximately 2-5 hours of activity per week.

Honors and Honors Electives courses are designed for students in grades 6-12. They begin on the 15th of each month throughout the year. These are credit bearing high school-level courses that require approximately 5-7 hours of activity per week. Honors courses last 36 weeks while Honors Electives courses last 18 weeks.

AP® courses are one and two semester courses that have been authorized by the College Board. They are designed to prepare students for college-level work and for the AP® exams in May.

ASO (Accelerated Summer Option) courses are offered over the summer. They condense one and two semester high school level classes into intense nine (9) week sessions. One credit courses typically require 10-15 hours of activity each week for successful on-time completion, and two credit courses typically require 20-25 hours per week.



Why do students need to qualify for GLL classes?

Our classes are designed for students working 1-2 grade levels above their chronological age. Not all students are ready for these courses, which are designed for learners who are advanced for their age and learn at a faster pace than most students. Our goal is not to be exclusive, but to ensure students are placed in a course that is appropriately challenging.


How can my child qualify?

Students can qualify in one of three ways:

Fast Track Returning Student – this method is for any student who has been accepted into a similar CTD course within the past two years. If you were previously accepted into a Core Essentials or Enrichment course and are now applying for an Honors, Honors Electives, AP® or ASO course, you may NOT apply as a “fast track” participant.

New Student/New Scores – If you are applying for a Core Essentials or Enrichment class, you may apply with scores at or above the 90th percentile (in the subject area of the course to which the student is applying) from any test with a national percentile ranking (NPR). We also accept ASSET test scores. You may apply for Honors, Honors Electives, AP® or ASO courses with PSAT, SAT or ACT scores. On the program page, click on “Qualifying Test Scores” to learn exactly what scores are required.

Admission Portfolio – This method is for students who do not have the appropriate tests or scores. Students must submit one teacher recommendation and a recent report card. Many students qualify with the portfolio method.


What is the procedure for applying?

First, complete the online application form and pay for the course. Second, submit your qualifying materials. Finally, wait to hear from the Admissions Committee.


When do I pay for my child’s course?

In order to upload qualifying materials and be considered by the Admissions Committee, you will need to pay when you apply. If you have not paid, qualifying materials such as teacher recommendations cannot be uploaded into your application. If your child is not accepted into their course, you will receive a full refund.


What is a nationally normed test?

This is a test that compares students’ scores in the same grade across the entire nation.


What is a prerequisite?

A prerequisite is identified by the instructor as the knowledge or skills necessary to start a course. For instance, Algebra 2 has a prerequisite of Algebra 1.


How do I know when my materials have been received?

Materials will not be marked “received” until a GLL staff member checks them in. During busy periods, this can take up to five business days. You can check your MyCTD Toolbox account to see if materials have been “received.”


What does it mean when my child’s application is marked “complete”?

It means that you have submitted all of the necessary qualifying materials. The next stop for your child’s application is the Admissions Committee. They will contact you with more information.


When will I hear if my child has been accepted?

The Admissions Committee meets several weeks before course start dates. They review applications on a rolling basis and only consider completed applications (i.e. all qualifying materials have been submitted). They will contact you with their decision or with a request for more information. Login information is sent 24-48 hours before the start of class.


When will I receive textbook information?

Your acceptance email will contain a link to our online bookstore. You can purchase the book from MBS or any other bookstore.


Can my child work at his/her own pace?

Yes. Our courses are flexibly paced and independent study. Students may complete their course in less than the allotted time.


What if my child does not finish the work by the end of the session?

Core Essentials, Enrichment and Family courses end after 9 weeks. Students in Honors, Honors Electives, AP® or ASO classes may request up to 3 one month extensions from their instructor.

Extensions are granted on an individual basis. At a minimum, students need to have completed more than half of the course to qualify for an extension. A student must have demonstrated the desire and capacity to complete the course in order for an extension request to be approved. Course extensions must begin on the course end date and are consecutive. Students can’t delay extensions. Course extensions are not available for core essentials or enrichment courses. A $100 fee is assessed for each month of an extension.




Do classes meet at a specific time?

No. Courses are facilitated independent study. That means students log in and work according to their own schedule. Instructors, who have designed the course, grade assignments, give feedback, and are available to answer any questions. Students may be directed to other websites that may include lectures or articles.


Who teaches GLL courses?

Our instructors come from various professional backgrounds and are selected because of their mastery of the subject matter, teaching experience, enthusiasm, and ability to work with gifted students. Teachers receive guidance and support from experts in online learning design.


What is the procedure for requesting financial aid?

When filling out the online application, check the box on page 6 indicating that you are interested in applying for financial aid (FA). The financial aid application deadline is a minimum of two weeks before your desired course start date (for Honors Electives, Honors, and AP courses) or until aid monies are depleted. Your registration confirmation email will contain a link to our online financial aid system through FACTS. In order to be considered for aid, your application must be complete in the FACTS system, including all required documents. Please understand that applications for students requesting FA will take longer to process since applications must be reviewed by both the Financial Aid and the Admissions Committees. The Financial Aid Committee does not review applications until the student has qualified academically.


What is GLL’s refund policy?

View refund details on CTD's Enrollment page.


How many courses can my child apply for at one time?

Gifted LearningLinks is accredited as a nonpublic supplementary school. Our courses are meant to provide classes not available at a student’s main school or to allow a student to work ahead of their school’s normal curriculum. Core Essentials and Enrichment courses require approximately 2-5 hours of work per week. Honors, Honors Electives and AP® courses require approximately 5-7 hours of work per week. ASO courses require up to 20 hours of work per week per credit. Please consider your child’s schedule when applying for multiple classes. Many students successfully take multiple courses at a time. However, if your child is new to online learning, we recommend starting with one or two courses and then consider increasing involvement over time once your student is comfortable in the online environment.


World Literature Honors

See description for dates and times

This comparative study of literature from around the world and throughout history, including selections from classic and contemporary works. Explore multicultural literature through critical reading and writing assignments. Note: a graded writing sample may be required for eligibility.


Sample syllabi available here

GLL Honors
Subject Area
English & Language Arts

Java Honors

See description for dates and times

An introduction to object-oriented programming. Using the BlueJ integrated development environment, implement object-oriented concepts. Gain experience with classes, objects, and inheritance as you learn the keywords and constructs of the Java language.

Prerequisites: Algebra I


Sample syllabi available here

GLL Honors
Subject Area
Technology & Engineering

Spanish I Honors

See description for dates and times

This course will introduce students to Spanish language fundamentals with emphasis on all four modes of communication: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Culture, geography, and history of the Spanish-speaking world are woven throughout the course. 


Sample syllabi available here

GLL Honors
Subject Area
English & Language Arts

Algebra I Honors

See description for dates and times

Topics include understanding expressions, equations and functions, solving inequalities and graphing equations and functions.


Sample syllabi available here

GLL Honors
Subject Area

Physics Honors

See description for dates and times

Apply the universal principles of physics, gain an appreciation of mathematics, and develop your understanding of the major concepts via hands-on experiments, virtual simulations, and investigations. Study Newtonian physics, electricity and magnetism, waves and optics, and early modern physics.


  • May be used as a lab science for IMSA and other selective high school applications.

Prerequisites: Algebra II


Sample syllabi available here

GLL Honors
Subject Area
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