Challenge to Excellence

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June 11-16, 2017 Challenge to Excellence I (6th-8th grades in fall of 2017)
June 18-23, 2017 Challenge to Excellence II (9th-11th grades in fall of 2017)

Now in its 34th year, Challenge to Excellence is one of the most respected and long-standing summer residential programs for academically-talented students in the Midwest. The program’s major goal is to provide students with opportunities to “stretch themselves” in classes that promote higher level thinking skills and creativity in a variety of academic subjects, such as math, art, psychology, journalism, biology and many others. Students are taught by instructors who have years of experience, and are supervised by counselors who are experienced teachers or SIU Carbondale graduate students.

Challenge to Excellence Brochure - Coming Soon!!

Many of our former campers have matriculated at our finest universities and are now teachers, doctors, engineers, journalists, computer scientists and pharmacists. One of our former Challenge to Excellence students received a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. Read what some of our campers and parents have said about the Challenge to Excellence program:

Chloe Miller, Olney, stated, “Challenge to Excellence Camp was the best camp I ever went to! I didn't know anybody when I went last summer but now I can't wait to see the friends I made again this year! We had soooo much fun.”

Chloe's Mom, Karen St. Pierre, says, “I was so happy that she was able to participate in something not only fun, but something that would help her grow educationally. She had the opportunity to learn about things she never would have gotten in school. She loved the psychology class!”

Admission Criteria and the Academic Program

The academic program consists of several courses designed to challenge the students in a variety of classes and experiences. All courses encourage students to use their creativity and problem-solving skills. It is recommended that students score at the 90th percentile or above on the math, science and/or language arts sections of an achievement test. A teacher or guidance counselor’s signature is required on the application as a means of certifying that the student is qualified to attend the program. NOTE: Returning students do not have to provide test scores.

Evening Programs

Our staff believes that opportunities must also be provided for the students to interact with each other socially. Evening programs are structured, supervised activities that include:

  • SIU Recreational Center
  • Bowling
  • Films

What's Included?

  • Meals from Sunday to Friday
  • Educational supplies and materials
  • Limited accident medical insurance
  • Camp T-shirt
  • Recreational activities
  • For residential campers, the fee also includes five nights lodging at air-conditioned SIU Carbondale residence halls (Sunday-Thursday)

 Program Dates:  

  • June 11-16 Challenge to Excellence I – Pending (for 6-8th graders as of fall 2017)
  • June 18-23 Challenge to Excellence II – Pending (for 9-11th graders as of fall 2017)

Program Check-in: 3 p.m., Schneider Hall

Program Times: Varies each day according to classes scheduled

Program Location: SIU Carbondale Campus

Registration Deadlines:  

  • Challenge to Excellence I: June 2, 2017
  • Challenge to Excellence II: June 9, 2017

Registration Fees:

By May 19, 2017

  • Residential Campers: $425
  • Commuter Campers: $350

 After May 19, 2017

  • Residential Campers: $435
  • Commuter Campers: $360

Parents: You also have the option of paying a $200 deposit when you pre-register. The balance is due by June 2, 2017 for Challenge I and June 9, 2017 for Challenge II.

Program Requirement: The 2017 Academic Camp Medical Release Form is required for camp participation and must be received in our office at least 3 business days prior to camp beginning.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations before May 19, 2017 will be refunded, less $25. No refunds will be made after May 19, 2017


Registration Options: