Explorations 2024

Program Information




ATDP remains committed to helping you make the most of your summer. This page contains comprehensive information about our online Explorations program for 2024.

Ceramics Exploration

Try something new

Explorations courses are particularly designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn and interact with subject matter that they might not otherwise experience in a regular school year classroom. With no graded homework assignments or final evaluations, these workshops are an excellent opportunity to investigate and learn something new, just for the sake of learning.

Student with a teacher

Robust engagement

We've always united teachers who are passionate about their subject with students who love to learn. Whether in-person or online, class sessions are highly interactive and aim to maximize the value of every minute. Online classes will include a mix of live ("synchronous") and self-directed ("asynchronous") instruction and activity.

Group of students conferring

A community of learners

ATDP isn't just about the curriculum. Every summer, students come from far and wide to share their interests with one another, work in class together, and make new friends. Explorations are also open to applicants beyond Secondary and Elementary Division students, so if you have a friend outside the program who wants to join you, invite them to sign up with our quick Explorations application form!


Key details

Class Schedule

  • Program duration is split into two 3-week sessions. Each Exploration meets 1 time per week, for up to 3 weeks.
  • Gold Session: June 17–July 5, 2024
    Blue Session: July 8–July 26, 2024
  • Online meetings take place within our AM window (8:30-12 noon) or PM window (1:00-4:30pm), except where otherwise noted.

App Deadlines

  • Earlybird Discount: apply by May 8, 2024
  • Gold Session Deadline: May 30, 2024
  • Blue Session Deadline: June 20, 2024


  • For students currently in grades K through 11. Some courses have academic prerequisites.

Rolling Placements

Rather than having a formal placement date, Explorations applicants will learn within several business days of their application submission whether or not they have been placed into the class they have applied to. If a student has requested a class that has not yet met its minimum enrollment requirement, they will not receive a formal placement notice until it does.




Program calendar

Application dates

Earlybird Discount
Signup by: Wed., May 8, 2024 Discount available on all Explorations if signup is received by this date
Placement Information Available Within 3-5 business days Applies to all sessions, as long as minimum enrollment has been met.
Gold Session
Application Deadline Thu., May 30, 2024 Minimum enrollment deadline for Gold Session classes
Tuition Deadline Mon., June 10, 2024
Blue Session
Application Deadline Thu., June 20, 2024 Minimum enrollment deadline for Blue Session classes
Tuition Deadline Mon., July 8, 2024

Important program dates

Gold Session refund deadline Thu., Jun 6, 2024 Last day to request a full refund for Gold Session classes
Gold Session Class Access Information Available Mon., Jun 10, 2024 Check your online account!
Gold Session begins Mon., June 17, 2024
Blue Session refund deadline Thu., Jun 27, 2024 Last day to request a full refund for Blue Session classes
Blue Session Class Access Information Available Mon., Jul 8, 2024 Check your online account!
Gold Session ends Fri., July 5, 2024
Blue Session begins Mon., July 8, 2024
Blue Session ends Fri., July 26, 2024





Browse the online course catalog  


Choosing a Course

We encourage students to pick and choose Explorations that really speak to their interests and curiosity! Please pay close attention to any prerequisites that the Explorations you are interested in may have. You may also choose to attend more than one Exploration; please be aware that it is your responsibility to make sure you can manage each class’s individual schedule.


Course Load

Explorations generally have few expectations in terms of student participation and attendance. As the classes are so short, attendance to every class session is strongly encouraged. While some Exploration instructors may provide worksheets or homework assignments, these are only recommended for students to get the full benefit of the class.


Schedule & Size

Depending on the topic and the instructor, Explorations may meet only once or multiple times, though never more often than once per week. Exploration series are capped at three sessions over three weeks, though some Explorations will have a “Part 2” series that students are welcome to enroll in separately as a follow-up if they find they really enjoy the material. Each session is typically between 2 - 3.5 hours long, though some may be shorter.

Classes generally have a cap of 20 to 24 students. However the wide variety of potential topics may result in courses that have smaller or bigger size caps, depending on suitability.


Applying for Multiple Explorations

Students are welcome to consider enrolling in more than one Exploration at once. Please be aware that it is your responsibility to make sure you can manage each class’s individual schedule. During the application process, students may select up to four Explorations to attend. Students may continue to add more Explorations after their application has been accepted.






Placement Notification

Students who fill out an application for Explorations should expect to receive a notification that their application is complete within several business days of their submission. This notification may also be accompanied by confirmation that the applicant has been placed in their selected Explorations. Both of these updates will be sent through email, after which the applicant may log into their online account to view their placement(s).

If a student has requested a class that has not yet met its minimum enrollment requirement, they will not receive a formal placement notice until the class has received sufficient overall signups. Students may track the progress of their requests by visiting their online accounts and viewing the Explorations Registration page in the 'Forms' tab. In the event that a class does not receive enough signups by the minimum enrollment deadline, the class will be cancelled.


Confirming Enrollment

To confirm course placement, a parent or guardian of a student who plans to attend must complete the online Enrollment Form—which includes emergency information, policy agreement, and tuition payment—by the session's tuition deadline. After the enrollment form has been submitted once, subsequent course placements do not require confirmation from the family.

Total cost for each Exploration can be found under the individual course’s description. This includes the base tuition fee and program fee, but does not include the application processing fee, nor expenses for supplies or transportation.


A parent or guardian whose registered student is unable to attend must withdraw the student in writing and may request a tuition refund. No refund will be made in the case of a student who fails to attend classes or is withdrawn from ATDP for failure to meet the standards of appropriate behavior. See our refund policy. A copy of the Explorations refund schedule can be found below with our student guide.



There are no excused absences at ATDP. As expectations are high and courses are fast-paced, even one absence makes it difficult to keep pace. Therefore, students are expected to attend every class session.

Due to the lack of formal grading or feedback in Explorations however, attendance is not mandatory. Please be advised that Exploration instructors are not obligated to provide recordings or materials to students who miss class time.

ATDP is also not liable for providing refunds to students who have failed to attend their Exploration classes. A student or family must provide notice of withdrawal before the official refund deadline in order to qualify for a refund.


UC Berkeley will be closed on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in observance of Juneteenth and Thursday, July 4, 2024, in observance of Independence Day. Any course which is normally held on a closed date will have a make-up class session. Make-up classes will be determined and announced per class by the course instructor; most are rescheduled for that same week.


Final Evaluation

There are generally no final grades or evaluations for Exploration classes.





Please review the application instructions below before applying.

Ready to go? Log in or register a new account, then go to your account menu.

The Application Process

ATDP evaluates applications on an ongoing basis in the order they are received, beginning when an application is marked complete. The earlier you submit a complete application, the better your chances at receiving placement into your preferred course!

  • The application process is the same for new and returning students.
  • Students must reapply every year, and returning students are not guaranteed automatic readmission or placement in their first choice of course.

Am I a new or returning student?

A student who applied in a previous year and then withdrew without completing a course will be considered a new student for admission purposes.

I'm already taking a Secondary or Elementary Division course

If you are already have an application for Secondary or Elementary Division, you do not also need to do an Explorations application in order to enroll in Explorations. After you have received your official course placement, you can find the Explorations registration form through your online account.


Earlybird Signup Deadline - Wed., May 8, 2024

  • Discount available for all Exploration classes that your student signs up for by this date.
  • If your student is receiving Financial Aid, they are not eligible for earlybird discount.

Gold Session Application Deadline - Thurs., May 30, 2024

  • Financial aid available
  • Gold Session classes may be cancelled if they do not receive the minimum required number of signups by this deadline. You will be notified if a class you have signed up for is cancelled and have the opportunity to sign up for others.

Blue Session Application Deadline - Thurs., June 20, 2024

  • Financial aid available for these classes, but application must be submitted by Gold Session deadline!
  • Blue Session classes may be cancelled if they do not receive the minimum required number of signups by this deadline. You will be notified if a class you have signed up for is cancelled and have the opportunity to sign up for others.


Step 1: Choose a Course

Browse our course offerings, then choose one course that interests you. Make note of any grade requirements or prerequisites.

Course availability may change throughout the application season as courses fill. Check our list of course offerings for frequent updates.

Step 2: Prepare Required Materials

Please prepare the following items in the order listed below. Items numbered 1 through 3 are required for a complete application. We request you include federal tax documentation (item 4) if you wish to apply for financial aid.

Items 2-3 can be submitted in the online application as a PDF (recommended) or image file. Due to campus policy, tax documents (item 4) must be provided as a paper copy via fax or mail.

  1. 1. Application Processing Fee

    There is a processing fee for each application. The fee is $15 for domestic students. For students attending school outside the US, the fee is $30. This fee is non-refundable. It covers only the cost of application processing and does not apply toward tuition or facilities fees. Available payment methods include:

    • Online payment by credit/debit card (preferred)
    • Check or money order made payable to “UC Regents.” Write “EX” and the student’s first and last name on the memo line. Mail your check payment to ATDP (see “Mailing Instructions” below).
      COVID update: Because we are working from home, mailed payments WILL delay your application. We strongly recommend making your payment online if at all possible.
    • Those applying for need-based financial aid may apply for a processing fee waiver if the fee poses a financial hardship. See our Financial Aid page for details.
  2. 2. Statement of Interest

    Please write a brief letter explaining your reasons for choosing the course listed on your application. In your (the student’s) own words, include information about your interest in the subject, what you hope to learn, and related experience, if any.

    • If you are applying for an Exploration aimed at grades 6 - 11, this statement should be a minimum of 150 words.
    • If you are applying for an Exploration aimed at grades K - 5, this statement should be a minimum of 2-3 sentences.
  3. 3. Copy of Report Card

    Submit a legible copy of your first semester (or most recent) report card for the current school year.

    We request that you send final grades, but if those are not available, you may submit your most recent progress report. Do not delay submitting your application to wait for final grades; if necessary, we may ask for an updated report card after receiving your application. If you need assistance obtaining a copy, contact your school office.

    Screenshots of online reports are only acceptable if they clearly include the student's name and date of the grades displayed, and we may ask for an updated report card after receiving your application.

  4. 4. Need-based Financial Aid (optional)

    See our Financial Aid page for complete information & detailed instructions.

    To apply for financial aid, please provide both parents’ most recent Federal Tax Return AND ALL SCHEDULES (i.e., the complete tax return) for each applicant.

    If the $15 processing fee poses a financial hardship, submit a letter of explanation and supporting documents. You may include these in your financial aid documents or as part of the student's Letter of Interest.

    Send your supporting materials no later than Tuesday, June 1, the standard application deadline.

Step 3: Submit Your Application

If you have not yet done so, register a new account and then access the "My Account" menu. Click on the name of a returning student, or select "Apply for a new student", and follow the on-screen instructions. You can do this multiple times with the same account if there is more than one student in your household applying to ATDP. If you have used your account for the same applicant previously, some of the application will be completed for you. Double-check this information for accuracy and update as needed before submitting!

You can log in at any time to check the status of your application, review placement information, make payments by credit/debit card, print receipts, and access your educational records from previously completed courses.




Student Guide

Good study habits must begin even before the first class! After you have received your class placements, what comes next?


Complete Enrollment and Class Forms

Complete your enrollment form. Review the policies and procedures below before agreeing to enroll. See the Course Placement tab in your online account for details and tuition payment instructions. (SD and ED students do not have to complete a separate enrollment form for Explorations.)

Some Exploration classes may also have a separate class-specific waiver/agreement that you must sign before class begins. If one of your classes has these, you will find a link to sign the agreement available with the class information in the 'Course Placement' tab.


Preparing for an On Site Class

All Exploration in-person courses for students who are completing seventh grade or older are held on the UC Berkeley campus, which is conveniently located a short walk away from the Downtown Berkeley BART station and several AC Transit bus lines. Many families choose to carpool to campus, and information about carpools, BART meet-ups, and campus shuttles will be provided in the student’s acceptance materials. For families driving to Berkeley, please visit UC Berkeley’s Parking and Transportation website for parking details.

All Exploration in-person courses for students who are completing fifth grade or younger are held at Washington Elementary School, located at 565 Wine Street in Point Richmond, nine miles northwest of UC Berkeley. The historic small town of Point Richmond is nestled in a quiet area between Interstate 580 and San Francisco Bay, near the eastern anchorage of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Students who are completing sixth grade are eligible to take Explorations that are located at both locations! Please make sure you review the Exploration's information carefully to correctly determine where it is being held.


Preparing for an Online Class

For remote classes, instructions on how you will be joining your Exploration class will be made available in students' online accounts starting a week before classes begin. This may include a Zoom link for the Exploration's remote 'classroom', information about expecting a class email from the Exploration instructor, or even in some cases, instructions to join a class website.

All students are expected to attend online meetings via the Zoom video-conferencing platform. Students are expected to abide by all ATDP policies, including those regarding behavior, academic integrity, and attendance (see Program Policies) no differently than if attending an in-person class. Students who anticipate any problems in meeting the technology requirements of online class meetings must inform ATDP as soon as possible. (List these in the 'Concerns' section of your online Enrollment Form.)

Technology malfunctions or other difficulties that prevent full participation in class may constitute an absence and are not the responsibility of ATDP.

We strongly encourage students to review the Student Tech Checklist to make sure they are prepared to attend remote classes with us.


Policies & Procedures
COVID safety & procedures

All ATDP students must comply with local public health guidelines and with program requirements regarding COVID-19 prevention practices. Students may be dismissed from the Program without refund for failure to follow requirements set by local government, UC Berkeley, ATDP, and instructional staff. Requirements may change and may differ depending on specific circumstances. They may include but are not limited to universal facial masking, social distancing, and strong hygiene and cleanliness practices (see atdp.berkeley.edu/covid-safety-procedures/ for current guidelines).

If in-person class meetings are impacted by public health conditions, COVID infection, or illness, ATDP will make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Classes may change to an online format if deemed necessary. There will be no exception to ATDP’s Refund Schedule or Attendance Policy. Even provided good faith efforts on the part of families and of ATDP to accommodate absence due to illness, missing too much class time may affect the student’s grade, affect eligibility for a recommendation of credit, or result in dismissal from the program without refund.

Requesting Changes in Course Placement

Students may initiate their own requests to add new Explorations by utilizing the Explorations Registration form available in their online accounts.

All other change requests (withdrawal, schedule change, etc.) must be communicated in writing. Families may use the Modify Course Selection form available in their online accounts, or alternatively send their requests via email (atdpoffice@berkeley.edu).

Withdrawals & Refunds

If you decide not to accept your course placement, you must select the appropriate option on the online Enrollment Form (in the Forms tab of your account) and submit it for the office to process. Please complete it as soon as possible so that another student can be placed in the class. If you need to withdraw after you have completed your Enrollment Form, please email your written withdrawal notice to ATDP.

Refund Schedule
Thursday, June 6th 100% refund available for Gold Session Exploration classes
Thursday, June 27th 100% refund available for Blue Session Exploration classes
No refunds after June 27th
  • All withdrawals from the Program must be made in writing.
  • Withdrawal date is the email date.
  • Refunds will be issued by the end of August.