The Solstice program at Center for Talent Development (CTD) combines a rigorous academic summer enrichment experience with fun and exciting social opportunities for academically talented students completing grades 4 through 6. Students engage in invigorating recreational and social activities, and have opportunities to make lifelong friendships with like-minded peers. Solstice offers courses in English and language arts, humanities, mathematics, science, computer science, and design and engineering. Our courses stretch a student's academic abilities and social skills in a motivating and nurturing environment.
Application opens January 4, 2017!
Solstice main block
New for 2017!
This summer, new courses include Brain Science, The Art of Texting, Real-World Math, and The Science of Fiction. The 2016 breakout hit MIDI Mania returns this summer, as do perennial favorites Debate & Discourse, Get Smart!, and Sketch Comedy.
Video Tutorial | CTD Summer Application
Forms & Downloads:
Applicants are encouraged to apply early, as many summer courses begin to fill and close as early as mid-March each year. Applications opened in MyCTD are processed and reviewed by program staff once they have been completed by the applicant or applicant's family, beginning January 4, 2017. CTD considers an application complete when all necessary documentation to demonstrate eligibility and to satisfy course prerequisites (as necessary by course) has been provided online in the applicant's MyCTD account. Courses are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
You will need a credit card to open an application. We recommend that you prepare all necessary supporting documents (test scores, etc.) for the application in advance. Applicants will be emailed a confirmation that they have opened an application. The parent e-mail provided in the online application is the address to which CTD communications will be sent.
Once the Summer Program office processes the completed application (which means all supporting materials have been received), it is forwarded to the appropriate Program Coordinator for review. When an enrollment decision is made, the Program Coordinator will notify the applicant using the primary email address provided in the application. The process takes approximately four weeks from the time a completed application is received. Incomplete applications are not reviewed, and do not “hold a spot” in the desired course. Due to the volume of applications received, the review process may take longer in April, May, and June.
All applicants will provide through their MyCTD account:
- Tuition deposit ($500 due upon application submission in MyCTD); deposit does not hold a seat in the course
Please see Eligibility Requirements for New Scores, Recent Participant/Returning Student, and Admission Portfolio details for additional application requirements.
|English & Language Arts; Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities||Participation in EXPLORE® or PSAT 8/9
test; or verbal/reading score ≥
90th percentile on nationally normed grade-level achievement test; or Admission Portfolio
|Students previously enrolled and successful in the Center for Talent Development Saturday Enrichment Program, GLL or Leapfrog, Spark, or Apogee in the Summer Program within the last two years are automatically eligible to re-enroll in the subject area of demonstrated strength. Returning students who wish to take a class in a subject different from that for which they initially qualified must submit new test scores or an Admission Portfolio.|
Participation in EXPLORE® or PSAT 8/9 test; or math/quantitative score ≥ 90th percentile on nationally normed grade-level test; or Admission Portfolio
*Note: some mathematics courses have specific scores required. Please see course descriptions.
|Technology, Computer Science & Engineering||New Students: Participation in EXPLORE® or PSAT 8/9 test; or math/quantitative score OR verbal/reading score ≥ 90th percentile on nationally normed grade-level test; or Admission Portfolio|
|Science||Participation in EXPLORE® or PSAT 8/9 test; or math/quantitative OR verbal/reading score ≥ 90th percentile on nationally normed grade-level achievement test; or Admission Portfolio|
Please note: Because the PARCC test is still in the early stages of administration and is not a nationally normed assessment, CTD does not accept PARCC scores from new applicants. New applicants may provide scores from another assessment taken up to two years ago. For those who ONLY have PARCC scores, we advise the following:
- register for an above-grade-level assessment through NUMATS
- apply with the Admission Portfolio
For more information regarding suggested test scores to submit and nationally normed percentiles please see our Eligibility page.
Admission Portfolio Option
- Proof of prerequisite if applicable (check course description)
- Copy of test scores if available (above-grade-level or grade-level)
- Report card (most current available)
- One teacher recommendation (must be from current year teacher/same subject area as course applicant is applying for)
- Statement of Purpose (approximately 50 words in which applicants explain their interest in a first-choice course)
Applications opened through midnight, May 14 are charged the "through May 14" application fee. After May 14, the tuition fee increases by $100, and full tuition is due at the time of application. Applications close on June 10, and this is also the withdrawal deadline for full fee refunds (less the withdrawal processing fee of $60). Although CTD tries to accommodate late applications, enrollment may not be possible.
Applications are reviewed only after all supporting documents and information has been received. As of June 10, 2017, applications that remain incomplete will be deemed inactive, will not be reviewed, and no follow up contact will be made.
Applications are reviewed in the order received and completed by applicants or their families. A course listed as available on the website at the time an application is submitted may be filled before that application is processed due to the queue of applications awaiting processing.
- 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.
- The amount of financial aid granted and the balance due are reflected in MyCTD. Any outstanding balance must be paid by June 10, 2017, unless arrangements have been made with CTD for a payment plan.
Students with financial need applying to the following technology courses are eligible to apply for the Gary Greenberg Technology Scholarship:
- Android Applications & Computer Programming or Minecraft.
To apply, complete the online application form. As part of the application, students must submit an "essay", conceived and written by the child, explaining why they chose the course, what appeals to them about learning to code or work with technology, and why they think the skills learned in the course will be valuable to them in the future. Essays may be in written form (e.g. approximately 250 word statement) or other media (e.g. 30–60 second audio, video).
If you are not applying for financial aid, parents/guardians must also submit a brief statement (a paragraph or two) describing the need for financial support.
The application deadline for this scholarship is April 14, 2017.
A five-month payment plan is available. To apply, you must submit the payment plan application form available on our website. The payment plan application is due within 30 days of receiving your acceptance notification. The fee for using the payment plan is $50. Families that are eligible for financial aid will not be assessed the service charge for using the payment plan.
Reimbursement through a Flexible Spending Account
Parents with Flexible Spending Accounts may be eligible for tuition reimbursement (check with your accountant or tax preparer).
Two sessions of Solstice courses are available at Elmhurst College. Course offerings and dates for the Solstice program in Elmhurst are below; full course descriptions can be found using the "Explore Courses" page of the CTD website and through your MyCTD account. Please be sure you are applying to your desired site, Evanston or Elmhurst, when opening an application.
Session One (July 10–July 21, commuter student option only)
Breakout Biology: Infectious Disease
Cool Chemical Capers
Phun Physics: Industrious Engineering
Android Applications & Computer Programming
Session Two (July 24–August 4, commuter student option only)
Introduction to Genetics
Sports in Motion
High academic standards and a diverse student body ensure that students learn not only from their teachers, but also from one another. Students come from across the country and around the world, and all share one common characteristic—a love for learning.
Solstice students enroll in one class for the two-week session. Classes meet for five hours per day. In order to maximize personal attention, Solstice courses are generally limited to 18 students per class. Each class has a master teacher and a teaching assistant, who work together to get to know students, encourage their talents, and engage them in hands-on activities and challenging lessons. Solstice courses are intended to build upon a student's strengths; courses do not remediate areas of weakness. Each course is an intensive experience, and approximately one hour of homework is assigned each night. Solstice students living on campus attend mandatory study sessions led by teaching assistants on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Students who commute to campus daily are also encouraged to participate in these study sessions, as well as in afternoon activities.
All students receive a final evaluation of their work. Solstice evaluations provide feedback about achievement and performance in the course, student strengths, areas in need of further development, and student work habits and attitudes.
While academics are a central focus at CTD, student life is also an important component of the program. Students develop life-long friendships, engage in recreational activities, and enjoy local events and resources while under the supervision of exceptional residential staff.
Solstice students who prefer to reside at home while participating in the Summer Program may choose to commute. Solstice commuter students are dropped off and picked up at a central location monitored by Summer Program staff.
Activities are an important part of the Solstice experience, and they provide a healthy balance of work and play. After class at the Evanston campus location only, students may participate in a wide variety of activities; favorites include swimming, playing Capture the Flag, participating in ultimate frisbee, soccer games, and engaging in various arts and crafts. Quiet time is an option for those students who wish to study or relax with friends. Weekday activities are included in the commuter student package on the Evanston campus.
For residential students, the weekend finds students enjoying a broad range of activities, such as off- and on-campus movies, museums, and talent shows. The learning that occurs outside of class through casual conversation and these shared activities is just as important as that which occurs in class. For this reason, residential students are strongly encouraged to remain with the Solstice program through the interim weekend.
RESIDENCE HALL AVAILABILITY: Northwestern University is undergoing a major renovation project involving all of the residence halls on the Evanston campus for the next several years. While CTD strives to provide space for all students who wish to reside with us on campus, available rooms may be limited, and will be provided on a first come, first serve basis. Due to renovation schedules, residence halls in use may not have air conditioning.
Residential students in Solstice are encouraged to bring their own laptops or tablets with them to assist with their coursework. Some Solstice courses require students to bring a computer. Check course descriptions for details.
The goal of the CTD Summer Program is to foster intellectual and social growth in a safe and engaging environment. We take every reasonable step to ensure the safety of Solstice students.
Solstice students are supervised by Summer Program staff at all times. Our trained faculty and staff provide clear conduct guidelines and careful supervision. Additionally, all students are coached in safety procedures, such as always staying with their group, using emergency phones on campus when necessary and knowing how to dial the emergency phone numbers printed on the back of student identification cards, which students carry with them at all times.
In order to maintain a safe and inviting learning environment, all Summer Program 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.
The Family Handbook includes detailed information about Summer Program rules and policies. These rules help ensure the safety of our students and staff, and all students must be committed to respecting them.
When a student is accepted into the program, the family will receive an acceptance email detailing next steps. Application status is also reflected in MyCTD. Families will have access to enrolled student information, including required forms, family handbooks, packing lists, etc. in MyCTD in March. Families will receive information about Opening Day in the weeks just prior to the program's start date.
Because courses are taught in English, TOEFL (or TOEFL Jr. for grades 4 through 8) or IELTS scores are required of students for whom English is not their first language to assess proficiency and assist in course placement. Please see the International Students Page for more information.
The CTD Summer Program has been identified, by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and Northwestern University, as an academic program which requires a student visa for any non-U.S. citizen/permanent resident. Any admitted student who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or in another visa category which allows for study requires sponsorship for a student visa. Please see the International Students Page for more information.