ADVANCE seeking applications for Summer 2023

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s ADVANCE Program will host its 35th session July 2 – 22, 2023. The ADVANCE Program is a three-week residential program that academically challenges and socially engages academically motivated students who are currently in 7th – 11th grades. The program’s website,, has been updated, and an online application is available.


Students enroll in a single course for three weeks of in-depth study. They attend 108.5 hours of class and cover an entire year’s worth of high school material or a semester of college level material in that three-week period.


Courses being offered include the humanities, mathematics, natural sciences with laboratory components, and computer science. By working with carefully selected instructors and teaching assistants (TAs), and limiting class enrollment to 15 students, each student is given the opportunity to attain maximum academic growth.


Applicants must submit copies of their most recent report card and state standardized test scores before they can be admitted to ADVANCE.


While the academic program at ADVANCE is top-notch, the residential program sets ADVANCE apart from other similar summer programs. The residential assistants (RAs) offer a wide variety of social and recreational activities to assist students in forming lasting friendships and strengthen the ADVANCE community.


Children and/or dependents of NSU employees or students from all campuses are eligible for a $250 tuition discount.


Catherine Karam of Arnaudville went to ADVANCE over three summers. She is currently a junior in the Louisiana Scholars’ College, the honors college at NSU, where she is majoring in liberal arts with a concentration in scientific inquiry.


My parents had discovered the program while looking for alternatives to the Duke TIP program of which I had attended the summer before at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas,” she said. “After reading about ADVANCE online and seeing the high praise it had received, they pitched it to me as a great opportunity for education and social enrichment; and they weren’t lying!”

During the first summer in 2016, Karam took the C++ computer language class, and although she did not do as well as she had hoped she still greatly enjoyed the class and loved her teaching assistant and classmates.


“The people who run the program care about every single attendee on a personal level, making sure to guarantee everyone feels welcomed and happy,” she said. “In the summer of 2018, I took psychology, which would go on to satisfy the general psychology credit I need for my current major, and this class was absolutely amazing. Professor Steve Gruesbeck made sure to keep the class engaging while teaching us the basics of psychology.”


In 2019, Karam took criminalistics with Dr. Tom Tiefenwerth, and that was her favorite ADVANCE course.


“Dr. Tiefenwerth was very entertaining while also teaching important criminal cases of the past century,” she said.


Karam said her parents were pleased with both the education and social aspect of ADVANCE and supported her interest in attending for three years.


“I am still in contact with many people I have befriended at ADVANCE, even some from all the way back in 2016,” Karam said. “Coming from the small town of Arnaudville, I didn’t get the close interactions with peers my age like I did at ADVANCE. If I could talk to someone who was interested in ADVANCE, I would tell them that the summers I spent at ADVANCE were some of the best times of my life and that they should absolutely go for it.”


Angelina Wood of St. Rose was an ADVANCEr every year she was eligible, five consecutive summers starting in 2014 and has been a student worker for ADVANCE for four consecutive spring semesters. She learned of the program through her seventh grade English Gifted/Talented teacher after taking the ACT through Duke TIP and earning a high score. She is currently a senior theatre major at NSU and will graduate in May before studying abroad the summer of 2023. At ADVANCE, she took creative writing, mythology studies, Shakespeare/performance, film studies/horror and film studies/great actors.


“I made lifelong friends there. Three of my best friends and I, despite all of us currently being scattered across the U.S. for college, all met at ADVANCE and continue to stay in touch,” she said. “Even when we get preoccupied with our daily lives and go months without speaking, we always seem to end up reviving our old group-chats from camp.”


Wood said she wouldn’t be the person she is today without having attended ADVANCE. The experience gave her confidence academically and socially. She also earned enough credits through AP and ADVANCE to have a nearly completed an English minor before taking a single class at NSU.


“In my experience, students of ADVANCE almost always come back because the program is just so valuable. It can truly be life-changing,” Wood said. “And often, after they’ve aged out of the program, they come back to teach and lead. That’s why I applied to be a student worker for the program in the Springs while attending NSU. I get to set things up for the students I never get to meet; it’s really exciting to know that they will get an experience that meant so much to me at that age.”

Applications are now being accepted. For further information visit, call (318) 357-4500, or email

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