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Academic Talent Development Program (UC Berkeley)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Summer Camps & School Breaks > Academic Talent Development Program (UC Berkeley)




2014 - 2011 Reviews


March 2014

Re: Math Camp for Rising 1st Grader
Check out the Fun with Math! class offered through the ATDP program: http://atdp.berkeley.edu/about/ed/catalog/ My daughter really enjoyed it last year.


Alternatives to ATDP?

Jan 2014

I love all the comments about the Academic Talent Development Program. But the price tag is staggering. I'm sure it's worth the money but 4 half days for $700. I only see positive posts on BPN. Anyone disappointed with the program? Can someone recommend another academic camps? - mom of 2


You didn't mention it, so I assume you know the program is three weeks? My kids are older now (as a matter of fact, oldest did the secondary program last summer on the Cal campus), but we did it for several years and I always felt it was well worth the money. You might not agree, but wanted to make sure you had all information. ATDP fan
My son enjoyed his Chemistry classes with Dr. Paul Daubenmire. It was a lot of homework, but he learned a lot at the end of the camp. On the other hand, he had a bad experience with the Expressive Art Through Drawing classes. The instructor was very boring. At the end of each class, students walked out looking very miserable. So, I think the quality of ATDP greatly depends on the instructor. Parents paid a lot of money for the camp and students are there eager to learn. ATDP mom
I have heard many things about ATDP, but it's not even something we can consider, since I work, and can't drop everything in the middle of the day to run all the way to Richmond and pick up my child. Plus it's expensive. I can't remember the specifics of your question, but if I recall correctly, you were looking for academic alternatives. I do know Head Royce has academic summer school, where the kids usually have classes in the morning, and more recreation in the afternoon. -Good luck in your search

Editor: Camp Galileo was also recommended.


Aug 2013

Re: Science & Math Camps that Girls Actually Attend
My daughter is a rising 6th grader and definitely a math/science kid. We also live in Oakland. We also do a lot of afterschool enrichment (Berkeley Math Circle, she did a year of the QuantumCamp afterschool classes and camps, etc.)

Don't discount ATDP, even from Oakland. The camps are really, really good. And balanced, gender-wise for both students and teachers. My daughter has gone for three years and really enjoyed it. And if you pair it with the Cal camp in the afternoon, you have a whole day. There are also a lot of opportunities for carpooling from Oakland, minimizing the drive time. We had a full (!) carpool of 5 kids in Montclair/Piedmont, but even after that was arranged I got a half-dozen calls from other parents looking for carpools. LH


I know you said that the ATDP commute seemed a bit much, but I will put in a plug anyway. My sixth grade girl (going into 7th next week) did the trig program this summer and really got alot out of it. Although it was predominantly boys there were many girls as well. We combined it with the 6th grade writing program, (she didnt want to do the Cal Adventures camp), which made for 4 full days. We carpooled from Oakland with another family (alternating pick up and drop off). Although it IS out of the way, most days the commute was around 20 mins each way. It is a serious program (day one was rough, she wasnt sure she was properly prepared with her public school math background)but the teacher and assistant were excellent and she now has a much greater appreciation and understanding of math principals and is looking forward to doing the program next year (on the Berkeley campus). I can't speak for the science program, but we were very happy with the math and writing. Worth the commute
Jan 2012

Re: Creative Writing summer camp for 8-year-old boy?

Try ATDP for the summer, the Academic Talent Development Program that's run by UC Berkeley's school of education. Google ATDP and it will come up right away. http://atdp.berkeley.edu/

My kids have done the writing courses for years, and the creative writing class in third grade is especially rewarding and valuable. Heather MacLeod is teaching it again, I believe, and she is a wonderful, warm, encouraging, and thoughtful teacher. Both kids have learned so much and love to write!

Good luck - the application process is a bit complicated, and the deadline is in March, so best get started as soon as possible. You won't be sorry, it's been great for our kids. Parent of writers


My daughter attended ATDP the summer after 3rd Grade and took a wonderful writing class for 3 weeks with Heather MacLeod called Author's Corner. Here's the link for ATDP http://atdp.berkeley.edu/about/overview/ The application process is somewhat onerous but my kids have loved EVERY class they have done so far! And Heather is a dynamic and inspiring teacher!

For my daughter the class really put her on the road to considering herself a writer. She is now 10 and is an editor for a kid's magazine called Our Words Magazine ourwordsmagazine.com Maybe your son would like to submit a piece to the next issue, deadline March 1st )

Heather also teaches small writing groups, here is her website http://giftedyoungwriters.wordpress.com Good luck! Kristine


Is ATDP for top-tier students only?

Dec 2011

I was wondering if someone has used the UC Berkeley Summer ATDP Program. I will have 3rd and 6th graders/girls next summer and I am interested in sending them to this program. The younger one works above grade level and exceeds in math and loves sciences. The older one struggles a little academically. She works very hard to achieve average grades, but she is a hard worker. (1) I am wondering if this program is for top tier academic students or can any child attend it? (2) If your child attended it, did he or she enjoy it and would you send him/her again? (3) Did it help with the academics the following year? (4) How was the social environment for the child during the hours that he/she was there? Thank you. Lisa


My oldest boy has attended ATDP summer camp twice, following K and gr 3. The youngest has done K.

I think, academically, it is a great program. I like the intensive study on a particular subject for an extended period. Other science camps in the area tend to do one project a day, then move on to another. I also like how they study the topic in different ways: through books, hands-on 'labs,' with art and songs (esp. for younger kids), etc. My kids have done oviparous animals & tidal pools (K) and the anatomy/ dissection class (gr 3). It was amazing what they learned! My youngest became a true tidal pool expert and was thrilled when he could teach his parents things when we visited the coast, and the older child was doing more dissections & anatomy than I ever got at high school (and never in elementary school).

The two main drawbacks to the program: the times are horrible for working parents, and my eldest did not enjoy the Cal sports camp option, so I only did that once. The oldest was also not thrilled with the idea of doing homework during summer. In fact, the homework wasn't much and not hard, but cajoling your child to do it is annoying.

In terms of getting in, ATDP staff could answer better. It *is* a competitive process (indeed, a bit over the top - it feels like college application in some ways!). For younger kids, I believe the teacher's letter is very important so it depends on whether the teacher sees your child as bright or not. From my (brief!) view, the kids in the classes were good, but they weren't all geniuses. ATDP parent


My daughter attended atdp last summer as a rising 1st grader (took the session on tidepools). She loved it. The curriculum & teaching were great & the social aspect seemed fine. She was not as happy with the extended care provided by the Cal youth sports camps, but the ATDP program seemed first rate. We will definitely be returning this year. Camille
See responses below to your questions:

(1) I am wondering if this program is for top tier academic students or can any child attend it? *Our child is A/B student generally, but the application process required an essay also, as I recall. Also, during orientation, above all, what I remember, was the director saying specifically that ATDP is NOT camp. I took that to mean that the children are expected to work, and do homework if required.

(2) If your child attended it, did he or she enjoy it and would you send him/her again? *Our child did enjoy it, and I believe the class ultimately helped him in his next grade level. We plan on sending him again.

(3) Did it help with the academics the following year? *Absolutely!

(4) How was the social environment for the child during the hours that he/she was there? *Not sure how to answer this, as we really weren't there for the social aspect. It's like any class, sometimes everyone gets along famously, and other times, there's a chance for conflict resolution.

At no time did I have concern over bullying, or the program tolerating inappropriate behavior, if that's what you mean.

Great program, glad we found it, it's NOT camp, it's academic, but delivered in a fun, engaging way. Hope that helps. happy parent w/atdp


June 2011

Re: Academic summer program for 9 year old
UC Berkeley has a great program- Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP). It's an excellent, three week, accelerated academic program. Definitely worth checking out. Kids can pick from a variety of classes, (one class for the entire session) organized by grade/age. Classes are 1/2 day and you can supplement with a UC sports camp on site, for a full day. Last year my 9 year old son took an anatomy class. They dissected fresh eyeballs and other animal organs provided by a local butcher. Melissa


April 2011

Re: Summer Camp with academic focus for 8 year old?
The Academic Talent Development Program at UC is great. The application deadline just passed, but it's possible that not all the classes for his age are full. It's the last 3 weeks of July. atdp.berkeley.edu


2010 - 2009 Reviews


Feb 2010

Re: Summer camp w/academics for incoming 6th grader
not sure if this meets your exact criteria but check out ATDP (academic talent development) a UC Berkeley summer program with academic topic choices for each grade level... held in Pt. Richmond. Our daughter is younger but loved the class she took last year. They have to apply, get recs., and do homework but it is also felt fun and low stress. chris


Jan 2009

Re: Physics & engineering for 8 y.o
Check out Cal's Academic Talent and Development Program [ATDP], run by their school of ed. My 2 kids had a great time last year.


You might be interested in ATDP, run by UC Berkeley. See http://atdp.berkeley.edu/elem.geninfo.html Betty
Google the ATDP (Academic Talent Development Program?)summer camp offered by UC Berkeley and usually held near Richmond Annex or Point Richmond (I think). My friends kids like this program and there is a bunch of hands on opportunities for working with science. I think a kid who likes mechanical stuff would find this program interesting. You do need to apply and perhaps get a teacher's signature. Look for it online, and in the archives of this site. Science Mom

2008 - 2007 Reviews


ATDP for 9th graders

Feb 2008

Can anyone tell me what their experience has been with these classes for 9th graders. My daughter is thinking of taking Marine Biology, which meets 2 days a week with 4-6 hours of homework per class. My question is.... is this really a hard pushing academic class? When she was in 6th grade she took a math class which was really fun. I'm wondering if she really needs to be taking a tough class during summer vacation. thanks much.


My son had great experiences with the ATDP program the summers after 6th, 8th and 10th grades. In the latter 2 summers, he was in the secondary division and took 2 day per week/5 credit afternoon classes on the Berkeley campus. The 5 credit classes, like the one probably being considered by your daughter, are much less demanding timewise than the 10 credit/3 day per week classes. My son was able to sleep late every day, go to his afternoon class 2 days a week, complete the 4 to 6 hours of class prep two other days, then have one whole weekday and the entire weekend off (15 - 20 hrs. of work per week spread over 4 days). So, my kid liked it, had plenty of time off, slept late, played lots of video games, but still had a light, built-in academically oriented structure 4 days a week for 6 weeks. I think he also liked taking classes on the UC campus, taking the bus, and eating on Telegraph or Euclid with all the UC summer students around. Each kid's tolerance for summer academics is different, but I would guess that the schedule is pretty comfortable for students who like academics and aren't trying to do a lot of other activities on top of ATDP. Good luck! ATDP mom

Summer Camp for Math Gifted Program at UCB

Feb 2007

Does anyone know about the gifted summer camp program at UC Berkeley ? We are thinking about signing up our son. He's 9 (4th grade) and very advanced in math. Does anyone here have experiences with that program ? Kim


We were not impressed with the program about which I think you ask - ATDP (Academic Talent Development Program). Over the course of two summers both of my very bright sons took classes there and they didn't feel that it was anything much different from their regular public school. The drive (at least from our neighborhood in Oakland) is a total schlep and it is pricey also. Disapointed

2006 - 2005 Reviews


2004 & Earlier


ATDP for kindergartener

Feb 2002

My son's kindergarten teacher has recommended that we send him to one of the summer classes offered through the UC Academic Talent Development Program. Can anyone who has send a kindergartner/first grader to the program tell me what the program for that age group is like? The only review on the web site is regarding a high school student's experience. Would you recommend it? Did your kids like it? What is it like? How is it structured? The concept of an "academic" summer program for a six year old gives me pause. Thanks!


ATDP has wonderful classes. Yes, they're kind of academic, but all the teachers our daughter (who started as a kindergartener) has had in their claases have been energetic and made the subjects fun. I would not be scared away by the academic label at all. Location in Pt. Richmond is not as convenient as the former location in a school near El Cerrito Plaza BART, but it's still a wonderful program. If you decide to do it, better move quickly since I think the deadline is coming up soon. a Dad
My son went to ATDP the summers after 2nd and 3rd grade. The first year he took geology and loved it. The second year he took physics and liked it less. He also went to the sports camp associated with ATDP, so he was there for the full day. He went strongly objecting to the sports camp, but actually enjoyed many aspects of it-- martial arts, team sports, arts and crafts. In geology, they made models of the earth, of fault lines, and finally of a volcano, using techniques that ensured that they understood about contours and mapping as well as the geology. They learned about lots of different kinds of rocks. In physics they built Rube Goldberg machines. Actually, it was a family project we built at home. Probably the hardest thing for my son in adjusting to the program was that it was at a new school with no one he knew. However, he made friends, particularly in the sports camp. You can send me e-mail if you have other questions. Cynthia
My son took one of the ATDP kindergarten classes two summers ago. If you have the opportunity to take advantage of this program, you should. My son studied oviparous animals, and the course was both stimulating and challenging--he talked about it all the time and he looked forward to going. The teacher was absolutely fantastic. There is enough variety (reading, writing, art, computer projects, study trips, class projects) that he didn't get bored. The classes meet 4 days a week for 1/2 day (students can also enroll in an optional recreation program for the other half of the day), and there are plenty of breaks. On Wednesdays there are exploration classes (an additional charge); we only did this once, though--my son is quite shy and meeting new kids is hard, so the Wednesday classes, which were comprised of students from a variety of classes, didn't work so well for him. The elementary program is held at Washington School (at the end of Richmond Parkway) so we had to adjust our commute schedule to make sure he got to the program on time, and parking around the school is pretty difficult, so if you plan to enroll, arrive early for pick up and drop off. Yvette
re-UC Academic Talent Development Program - For program specifics see their website: http://www-atdp.berkeley.edu/ My son has attended for several years, he started the summer after 2d grade. He loves it and looks forward to attending every summer. He chooses the class he wants to take, not me. The classes are 1/2 day, with a morning recess, four days/week. The classes are pretty academic, teachers are excellent, and if your child is interested in Geology, Simple Machines, Photography or Lab Chemistry or whatever, they will have a blast. My son took Geology as a 2d grader, he absolutely loved it and learned alot. The teachers do an incredible job of introducing the class to the subject in an interesting and engaging way. Both the kids and the teachers seem to really like the opportunity to spend 4 weeks focused on one subject. There is a small amount of daily homework. The classes work toward a final project of some sort and there is a day at the end of the session where the classes present their projects. It's amazing to see what they've spent 4 weeks working on. There is also a schedule of fun, optional one-day classes for the fifth day. There is a sports program to fill out the day if you need a full day program. The sports program was quite poorly run a few years ago when we first participated, but seems to have improved significantly since then though I'm not sure I'd enroll a to-be first grader.
My children went to the program after Kindergarten and enjoyed it. They are in 4th grade and we will return this year and have gone every year in between. The teachers are great and the classes are age appropriate- -for kindergarten the choices are rocky reefs and tide pools or oviparous eggs. Deadline to apply is March 29th. Check out www.atdp.berkeley.edu. barbaramann
Both of my children have attended summer camp at ATDP for the past 2-3 years, and they both have enjoyed it very much. It's not so much
Feb 2002

Re: summer programs for 15-year-old
I would recommend the Summer Academic Development Program here on campus. Their web site is: http://www-atdp.berkeley.edu/ My daughter took classes two summers in a row. She adored it. Her taking a class in mythology totally turned her around and gave her the direction she needed. She's now a college freshman classics major. If you have a child who is very bright but is turned off to the social aspects of high school this program gives them an opportunity to really study something of their own choosing and be around kids who are there for the sake of learning.


April 2000

Re: Math enrichment classes for 6-year-old
Check out UC Berkeley's Academic Talent Development (ATDP) program. It's a summer program, and although the deadline for applications has passed, they still will accept applications for classes that have not yet filled. For course descriptions of "Fun with Math" (for those who have just finished Kindergarten) and "The Joy of Math" (for those who have finished 1st grade), To inquire about course availability, you should call the ATDP office. The staff is wonderful and will be happy to help. Ilana


March 2000

My daughter, who is now a junior, attended this program last summer. She got into her second choice class, mythology. She adored her class and really got along great with the instructor. She also enjoyed meeting kids from other high schools. As a result of the class, she had a real advantage over her current classmates in English Lit and European History, because both courses covered certain aspects of mythology. And, she can answer all the Jeopardy mythology questions! She is reapplying for this coming summer. We both highly recommend the program. Olga


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