by Emily Brehe-Gunter

Duke University’s long standing national Academic Talent Search program (Duke TIP as it has previously been known) has permanently ended.

Duke TIP activities for eligible students have been cancelled through the summer of 2021, according to a March 2021 announcement. After this break, activities geared towards students in grades 6-8 are moving to a program named Duke University Youth Programs. Students in grades 9-12 can find programs under the name Duke University Pre-College.

Duke will not resume the Academic Talent Search after this pause. The organization intends to explore new ways to identify students for these enrichment programs.

Why Is Duke TIP Cancelled?

According to The Chronicle, the end to Duke TIP was “a direct result of COVID-19.” After the forced cancellation of the 2020 TIP summer sessions, the program was left in an “unsustainable financial position.”

Who Is Affected By This Change?

Many of our academically talented 7th and 8th grade students participated in the Duke Talent Search Program. This would involve students taking the ACT® or SAT® tests in middle school to see how they performed compared to their peers.

These scores would provide students with opportunities to enroll in other Duke TIP subprograms, including eStudies courses, Summer Studies programs, and Scholar Weekends. Some students also used this as early preparation for college admissions tests.

What Should We Do Now?

We know that it’s important for any gifted and talented student to feel challenged and engaged in order to grow.

Although Duke TIP has closed their student portal, the organization still provides several resources to students and parents.

The best of these resources is a list of other enrichment opportunities for young students. We have recreated that list with a few additions at the end of this article.

There are other organizations that offer Talent Searches in which an SAT or ACT test score is used for admission into enrichment programs and for recognition ceremonies.

7th and 8th graders can also register for and take the SAT test independently by applying directly through the College Board. Test scores from 7th and 8th grade test administrations are automatically removed from a students’ test score reports, so these scores are not reported when the student later applies to college.

Middle school students can also take the ACT test. However, if a student is under the age of 13, you won’t be able to sign up online. Instead, you’ll need to contact ACT support about signing up.

At KD College Prep, we offer the Advanced Start Program for gifted and talented middle school students who want to get a head start on preparing for the SAT, ACT, and PSAT tests. To learn more about our program, contact us to schedule your free consultation.

Enrichment Opportunities for Middle School Students

There are endless opportunities for middle school students to challenge themselves outside of the classroom. These options include contests, day camps, weekend camps, summer programs, and mentorship opportunities.

View the list below to find a program that aligns with your student’s interests.

National/International Competitions

Online Programs

Weekend Programs

Summer Programs

Emily Brehe-Gunter is a marketing and communications specialist at KD College Prep.