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Request an Accelerated Placement

CTD's Approach to Course Content

Center for Talent Development (CTD) courses are already advanced or grade-level accelerated, as reflected in course descriptions and the standard admission requirements. Course instructors also routinely differentiate instruction as appropriate. 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. CTD has developed a procedure for evaluating students for possible accelerated placement into CTD courses designed for older students.

Please read all of the following information carefully before submitting a referral packet for accelerated placement into CTD courses designed for older students.

Accelerated Placement Referral Process

Who can refer a student for accelerated placement?

  • Parent or legal guardian
  • Teacher or school administrator (with parent/guardian consent)
  • Student, with parent/guardian consent

What is the referral process?

  • Submit a completed Referral Form by the appropriate deadline.
  • Provide indicators of academic achievement, intellectual ability, and developmental readiness that demonstrate high ability commensurate with the course eligibility requirements and the necessary social-emotional skills for the program. These may include, but are not limited to
    • Grade-level achievement test scores (standardized, nationally normed)
    • Above-grade-level test scores (e.g., SAT taken in middle school)
    • Ability or aptitude test scores
    • Referrals from educators, psychologists or others who have worked with the student in an educational setting or who have had an opportunity to observe the child’s academic abilities and/or psychosocial skills.
    • Program evaluations from previous, similar program experiences
    • Parents/guardians/students may submit a personal statement, but this is not required

What are the deadlines and related timelines for a referral?

  • A complete referral form with all related documentation (referral packet) must be received 10 business days prior to the published course application deadline.
  • Families will receive a determination no later than 10 business days after receipt of a complete referral packet.

Is there an appeal process?

  • Families have 10 days to appeal a decision. The appeal must be submitted in writing.
  • The Director will review appeals and reply within 5 business days of receiving the appeal. The Director’s decision shall be final. 
  • A student may be referred and evaluated again at the next available opportunity if they are referred again for evaluation by an individual eligible to make referrals as described in this procedure.
  • In cases where notification is received immediately prior to the course start date, appeal decisions will be considered for an upcoming course, not the course already in progress.

Are there courses for which I cannot request an accelerated placement?

  • Legal requirements or liability issues may preclude Center for Talent Development from allowing early admission to certain courses. Examples include laboratories or service-learning sites with age restrictions or computer science courses with age-restricted software. In these cases, applicants will be considered or referred for accelerated placement in other courses or equivalent programs, where available.
    • Accelerated placement is not possible for CivicWeek or Taking Action: Leadership and Service due to the design of the program and age requirements at partner sites.
    • College Board policies limit participation in AP courses to students in grades 9 through 12. Therefore, CTD does not admit students into AP courses prior to the summer immediately following a student’s 8th grade year.
  • CTD limits class sizes and admits students on a first-come, first-served basis. A student will not be placed in a course that has reached enrollment capacity.

For more information, please contact ctd-admissions@northwestern.edu.

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