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Engagement Opportunities

Northwestern University encourages youth to explore areas of interest and connect with a community of peers by offering a variety of on-campus programs, camps and classes. Explore the opportunities below and learn about our commitment to safety.


Center for Talent Development

Center for Talent Development offers life-changing residential and commuter programs providing challenging enrichment, honors and Advanced Placement® courses taught in a highly supportive environment. From early childhood through elementary, middle and high school, Center for Talent Development (CTD) gifted summer programs encourage gifted kids to explore academic areas of interest.

National High School Institute

Since 1931, the National High School Institute, a nonprofit organization, has brought outstanding students to Northwestern University's Evanston campus for intense educational experiences. Students are affectionately known as "Cherubs," a name given to them in the 1930s by Northwestern Dean Ralph Dennis whose goal, "to bring together gifted young people and superior teachers in an atmosphere of affection, knowledge, and trust," is still upheld today. The oldest and largest university-based program of its kind, NHSI offers studies in Theatre Arts, Film & Video, and Debate.

"I would tell [future Cherubs] to get ready for the experience of their lives. It is a ton of work and dedication. But it pays off. I came out of the Cherubs program a different person. It completely changed my life."

Medill Media Teens

A collaboration between Medill and Gary Comer Youth Center on Chicago's South Side, Medill Media Teens helps at-risk high school students become confident, technology-savvy journalists.

College Prep Program

Experience college life at Northwestern University this summer in the College Prep Program. High school sophomores and juniors can take undergraduate courses for college credit, or enroll in a two-week IN FOCUS seminar in a special topic area.


HerStory is an annual Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) outreach event aimed at inspiring middle and high school girls to pursue STEM fields of study in their education, and to pursue STEM fields in higher education and beyond.

The HerStory event brings students from the Chicagoland area to the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) to take part in a day-long Inspirational Women in Science History Scavenger Hunt. The girls are joined by graduate student, postdoctoral and senior scientists from diverse backgrounds, who help to facilitate dialogues about what it means to be a scientist.

The girls have the opportunity to learn about famous women who have shaped the history of science, and also get to meet a diverse group of young female scientists who are paving the way for the next generation of scientific discoveries.


NU Athletics Sports Camps

Run by many of the top intercollegiate coaches in the country, NU Athletics Sports Camps provide a fun and exciting learning environment for youth of all ages. Many coaches offer a variety of camps including team, residential and daily commuter camps. Campers who attend sports camps at Northwestern have the opportunity to learn more about their sport, improve skills and receive guidance from coaches and student athletes alike.

Athletics Facilities

Facility reservations are also available through NU Recreation.


Music Academy at Bienen

Northwestern University's Music Academy has provided music instruction to children and adult students from surrounding communities and the greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana area. More than 500 community students gather on campus each week for Kindermusik® classes and lessons in piano, strings and voice.

Hire a Musician

Bienen School of Music can also help you hire some of the area's finest young musicians. More information can be found at the Bienen School of Music's website.

Student Organizations

Camp Kesem

Camp Kesem is a weeklong summer camp for kids whose parents have or had cancer. There are chapters at many colleges around the country, each serving the area surrounding it and run entirely by students. The chapters are overseen by a national organization, Camp Kesem National.

Mentorship Opportunities for Research Engagement

The Northwestern University Mentorship Opportunities for Research Engagement exists to provide graduate students and post-docs opportunities to mentor high school students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This organization grew out of a partnership with Niles West High School where students participate in high level STEM research under the mentorship of NU graduate students. The organization aims to expand connections with local high schools to engage students in real science.

Project Soar

Project SOAR matches one Northwestern student with one Evanston child so that the two can have a mutually enriching experience. As a Northwestern mentor, you will meet with your mentee on a weekly basis. Meetings can be throughout Evanston or Chicago and are planned based on your own schedule. SOAR is not a tutoring program, it is meant to provide role models for those children that want and need them.

Strive for College

The purpose of Strive for College is to assist academically qualified, low-income and/or under resourced students apply to and enroll in four-year universities and colleges. The Strive for College Chapter at Northwestern follows Strive for College Guiding Principles as well as recruiting mentors, provide support and training, and advocate for all-access education. We encourage prospective youth to explore mentorship opportunities at the partner website.