What Is Northwestern CTD? Should You Participate?

What Is Northwestern CTD? What Does the Program Involve? 

Northwestern Center for Talent Development (CTD) is an organization that provides programming and resources for academically gifted students in the United States. The program was founded in 1982 as part of the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy.

CTD's mission is to help students reach their full potential by providing advanced learning opportunities and resources. The program offers a wide range of courses, programs, and services to support academically talented students in their pursuit of knowledge.

The program is designed for students in grades PreK-12 who demonstrate exceptional intellectual and academic abilities. CTD's programs include online courses, weekend and summer programs, and various resources for parents, educators, and students.

CTD's courses cover a variety of subjects, including language arts, math, science, social science, and technology. These courses are designed to challenge students and help them develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative skills.

CTD also offers a variety of resources for parents and educators, including online classes and workshops, a resource library, and individualized educational counseling.

In summary, Northwestern CTD is a program designed to provide advanced learning opportunities and resources for academically gifted students in grades PreK-12. The program offers a wide range of courses, programs, and resources for parents, educators, and students to support their academic and personal growth.

Who Can Participate in CTD Northwestern? 

The Northwestern CTD program offers a wide range of educational programs for students of different ages and academic levels. Here are the eligibility criteria for some of the popular programs:

Gifted LearningLinks (GLL)

The program is open to students from kindergarten through grade 12 who have scored in the 90th percentile or above on a nationally normed test in their area of study.


The program is designed for academically talented high school students in grades 9-12 who are looking for an immersive summer learning experience.

Civic Education Project

The program is open to students who are currently in grades 5-12 and who demonstrate a strong interest in academic and social growth through the exploration of social issues.

Accelerated Weekend Experience (AWE)

The program is open to students in grades 4-8 who have a passion for learning and who want to explore topics beyond the traditional classroom curriculum.

Online Program

The program is designed for academically talented students in grades 4-12 who are seeking advanced coursework in a flexible online environment.

Midwest Academic Talent Search (MATS)

MATS is open to students in grades 3-9 who have scored at or above the 90th percentile on a nationally normed test in their area of study.

It is important to note that eligibility criteria may vary for each program, and interested students and parents should review the specific eligibility requirements for each program on the CTD Northwestern website.

What Are the Northwestern CTD Testing Dates?

The Northwestern CTD has a variety of testing dates throughout the year, depending on the specific program in which you are interested. Here are some common testing dates for popular programs:

SCAT (School and College Ability Test)

The SCAT is administered online and can be taken at any time, as long as you have a proctor available. You can register for the SCAT on the CTD website.

PSAT 8/9

The PSAT 8/9 is typically offered in October and February. Check the CTD website for exact dates.


The CTD offers weekend SAT and ACT testing on Northwestern's campus in Evanston, Illinois. Check the CTD website for exact dates.

NUMATS (Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search)

The NUMATS exam is offered in multiple testing windows throughout the year, typically in the fall, winter, and spring. Check the CTD website for exact dates.

Note that some programs, such as the Accelerated Weekend Experience, do not require testing and instead use other criteria for admission. Check the CTD website for specific program requirements and deadlines.

What Are the Northwestern CTD Program Dates?

Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) offers several programs with different dates. The following are some of the program dates for CTD:

Summer Program

The summer program at CTD takes place from late June to early August, with varying start and end dates depending on the course.

Weekend Enrichment Program

The weekend enrichment program at CTD usually takes place on Saturdays and/or Sundays during the fall, winter, and spring quarters.

Online Program

CTD’s online program runs year-round, with different courses starting at different times throughout the year.

It’s important to note that program dates may vary from year to year, and it’s best to check the CTD website for the most up-to-date information.

How Is Northwestern CTD Different From NUMATS? 

Northwestern CTD and NUMATS are both programs that offer academic enrichment opportunities for academically talented students. However, there are some key differences between the two.

Northwestern CTD is a program specifically designed for gifted students in grades K-12 who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and who may benefit from advanced courses and enrichment opportunities. CTD offers a wide range of programs and courses, including online courses, summer programs, and weekend courses, in subjects such as math, science, writing, and humanities.

NUMATS (Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search), on the other hand, is a program designed to help identify academically talented students in grades 3-9 in the Midwest region of the United States. NUMATS offers above-grade-level testing to identify students who may benefit from accelerated academic programs or advanced coursework.

Overall, while both programs are focused on supporting academically talented students, Northwestern CTD provides a more comprehensive range of enrichment opportunities and programs, while NUMATS focuses primarily on testing and identification.

Why Should You Participate in CTD Northwestern?

Participating in the Northwestern Center for Talent Development (CTD) program can provide numerous benefits for academically advanced students. Here are some reasons why you should consider participating in CTD Northwestern:

Challenging coursework

The CTD program offers rigorous coursework designed specifically for academically talented students. This can provide an opportunity to engage in challenging academic work that may not be available in a regular classroom setting.

Enrichment opportunities

In addition to coursework, CTD offers enrichment opportunities such as workshops, summer programs, and online courses that can enhance your academic experience.

College readiness

CTD can help prepare you for college by providing exposure to advanced coursework, college-level research, and critical thinking skills that are essential for success in higher education.

Personal growth

By participating in CTD, you can develop important skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, and leadership. These skills can help you not only in academic settings but also in your personal and professional life.


Participating in CTD and successfully completing the coursework can provide recognition for your academic achievements, which can be valuable for college applications and future endeavors.

Overall, the CTD program can be a valuable opportunity for academically talented students to challenge themselves, develop important skills, and prepare for future academic and professional success.

Tips on How To Get a High Score

To achieve a high score in the Northwestern CTD program, it is important to prepare well and follow some effective tips. Here are some tips to help you score high:

Familiarize yourself with the test format: The Northwestern CTD program includes several tests, and it is essential to be familiar with the test format and content. Take practice tests and understand the type of questions asked.

Manage your time: Time management is crucial to scoring high in the CTD program. During the test, allocate your time wisely and make sure you don't spend too much time on any single question.

Brush up on your basic skills: The CTD program tests basic skills in math, English, and science. It is important to brush up on these skills by taking relevant classes, reading books, and practicing regularly.

Build a strong vocabulary: A good vocabulary is essential to scoring high in the English and reading sections of the CTD program. Read extensively, use flashcards, and take vocabulary tests to improve your vocabulary.

Practice writing essays: The writing section of the CTD program requires you to write a well-organized and coherent essay. Practice writing essays on different topics and get feedback from teachers or tutors.

Develop a study plan: A structured study plan is essential to prepare well for the CTD program. Create a study schedule and stick to it. Take practice tests, review your mistakes, and work on improving your weak areas.

Take advantage of available resources: There are several resources available to help you prepare for the CTD program, including study guides, practice tests, and online courses. Take advantage of these resources to improve your skills and knowledge.

Stay calm and focused: The CTD program can be stressful, but it is important to stay calm and focused during the test. Take deep breaths, read the questions carefully, and eliminate obvious wrong answers to increase your chances of getting the right answer.

By following these tips, you can prepare well and increase your chances of getting a high score in the Northwestern CTD program.


In conclusion, Northwestern CTD is an excellent program for academically talented students who are looking for an opportunity to further develop their skills and interests. It offers a range of testing, assessment, and educational programs that are specifically designed to challenge and engage high-ability learners. The program's rigorous academic curriculum, expert faculty, and supportive community of like-minded students create a challenging and enriching learning environment that can help students reach their full potential. With the right preparation and dedication, students can achieve high scores on CTD's assessment tests and gain admission to the program's advanced courses, earning recognition and validation for their intellectual abilities.