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What are the CTY (Center for Talented Youth) Summer Programs?

The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) is a summer program established by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 1979 that offers challenging coursework to gifted and talented students, allowing them to work side-by-side with other passionate learners. Johns Hopkins CTY admits thousands of U.S.-based and international students each summer and is accredited by the Middle States Association of College and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) is a non-profit organization associated with Johns Hopkins University that identifies and nurtures academically talented students from around the world. CTY offers a variety of programs, such as summer courses, online classes, and family programs, that provide gifted students with challenging and engaging educational opportunities to develop their intellectual potential.

CTY currently hosts programs at 25 residential and day sites in the United States and Hong Kong. Programs offer spaces outside the traditional classroom, catering to both students who want to study a subject not offered at their school and students who want to “get ahead” academically.

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Traditionally, CTY’s programs are divided into three-week sessions in which 12-18 students take a deep-dive into one area of study.  Each course is led by an instructor and an instructional assistant. By having two instructors in the room, each of the students can receive individualized guidance and support. By the end of the three-week session, the student will have covered an equivalent amount of coursework to that of a college semester. In class, students complete an array of engaging and challenging activities such as group work, debates, oral presentations, laboratory studies, and instructor-based lectures.

Classes take place Monday through Friday, but CTY is not only about academics. Students participate in social activities that allow them to get to know other learners from all over the world. Through a system of structured activities and events, individuals can make new friends while developing an appreciation of the on-campus community. So in addition to academics, students get to do the “fun” activities found in traditional summer camps.

What are the Different CTY Programs?

CTY programs are open to students in grades two through twelve. For certain grades there are a few options for the Johns Hopkins CTY program that may be the best fit for your child. CTY Johns Hopkins provides day programs for students 2-6 and residential programs for students in grades 5-6. Residential programs are offered around the U.S., and vary by program. Sites are found in Saratoga Springs, NY, Carlisle, PA, Los Angeles, CA, and in many other cities.


How can my child qualify for CTY programs?

To qualify for CTY programs, students generally need to demonstrate high academic achievement or potential. This can be done through various standardized tests, such as the School and College Ability Test (SCAT), Spatial Test Battery (STB), or the PSAT, SAT, or ACT. The specific testing requirements depend on the student’s age and the program they are interested in. For detailed information on eligibility, visit the CTY website.

What types of programs does CTY offer?

CTY offers a wide range of programs to meet the diverse needs and interests of gifted students. Some of the programs include:

CTY Online: These are online courses available for students in grades PreK-12, offering flexible, self-paced learning in various subjects.
Summer Programs: CTY offers residential and day programs for students in grades 2-12. These intensive courses are held at various locations across the United States and provide students with an immersive learning experience.
Family Academic Programs: These are one-day or weekend-long events that bring together students and their families for educational activities, workshops, and discussions.
International Programs: CTY partners with organizations in other countries to offer global educational opportunities for students.

How much does it cost to participate in CTY programs, and is financial aid available?

Answer: The cost of CTY programs varies depending on the type and duration of the program. CTY Online courses, for example, range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, while residential summer programs typically cost several thousand dollars. CTY is committed to making its programs accessible to students regardless of their financial situation, and financial aid is available for qualified families. Visit the CTY website for specific information on program costs and financial aid opportunities.

Young Students Programs: Grades 2-6

Young Student Eligibility

Young student eligibility into the Johns Hopkins CTY program is based upon age, grade, and the scores that the student earned on the require tests. Students who are in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade must have above-grade-level SCAT scores. Students who are currently testing in 5th or 6th grade must earn appropriate scores on the SCAT, PSAT 8/9, or STB. Additionally, students who choose the day program must at least have completed 2nd grade by the summer of 2019. Students also must have a birthdate on or before June 30, 2009. With regard to residential programs, students must complete at least the fifth grade by the summer of 2019. These students must have a birthdate on or before June 20, 2008.

Young Students Programs: Grades 2-6Residential ProgramsDay ProgramsSCAT Test RequiredSTB Test Required
Summer Programs for Grades 2-4xx
Programs for Grades 5-6xxxx

Summer Programs for Grades 2-4

CTY JHU offers summer day programs for students who have completed grades 2-4. Those students must have completed their education in either the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, New York City, La Jolla, or Portola Valley, California. Students can qualify for those programs based upon the last grade that the student completed. Their score on the CTY-administered SCAT test (School and College Ability Test),  is also a requirement for program eligibility.

Programs for Grades 5-6

CTY JHU offer summer residential as well as day programs on both the East and West coasts for students who have finished grades 5-6. Day site locations take place in Baltimore-Washington, New York City, La Jolla, and Portola Valley, California. In order to be eligible for the program, students must submit their most recent grade performance, as well as their score on the CTY-administered SCAT and/ or STB tests.

Summer Programs for Grades 7-12

CTY JHU provides five residential programs to eligible students who have finished grades 7 and above.

Intensive Studies (Grades 7 and Above)

The Intensive Studies program is open to students whose scores on the designated tests earn them above the mean for college-bound high school seniors. To be eligible for the program students must:

  • Completed 7th grade by the summer that the student wishes to attend CTY Johns Hopkins
  • Be at least 12 or older by July 1st
  • Be younger than 16 before September 1st of the year the student wishes to attend CTY Johns Hopkins
  • Earned the required scores on at least one of the tests CTY Johns Hopkins offers for eligibility. These tests include the SAT, ACT, Advanced SCAT, and/or Spatial Test Battery (STB)
  • Students must complete the eligibility requirements for two subject areas. These include math and science as well as in writing and humanities. The student can be eligible in one subject area or both.

Students who meet eligibility for this program are expected to perform at a college-level. The courses allow students to complete the same amount of material that is traditionally completed in a semester-long college course or a year-long high-school course. CTY’s Intensive Studies courses are broken into two categories:

  • Special Topic Courses, which cover topics not found in high school
  • Fast-paced high school courses, which cover high-school courses in three weeks.

The Intensive Studies Program functions at a faster pace than the Academic Explorations Program.

Academic Explorations (Grades 7 and Above)

Academic Explorations is open to students with a wide range of test scores, offering enrichment courses that introduce students to topics that are not traditionally included in the middle or high school curriculum. These courses emphasize the development of analytical skills, problem solving, and verbal presentation. Through this program, students are encouraged to apply the concepts that they learn in class to real world encounters. These courses are advanced as they are taught at a level equivalent to an advanced high school or introductory college course.

Civic Leadership (Grades 9-12)

The Civic Leadership Institute is given at locations in Baltimore, Maryland as well as Berkeley, California. Students must have finished grade 9 or above in order to attend the Civic Leadership Program. In this program, students learn about the challenges and obstacles that are affecting communities. It is their objective to develop a toolbox of knowledge in order to address the problems plaguing certain communities. Throughout the course of this program, students will develop leadership abilities, participate in service projects, and listen to important guest speakers. Additionally, they will also develop an action plan to target a goal in their own home community.

Global Issues in the 21st Century (Grades 10-12)

This program is offered at Princeton University and examines Global Issues in the 21st century. Students are required to have finished grade 10 or above in order to attend the specific program. In order to gain eligibility, students are required to have achieved the required minimum score on any John Hopkins CTY approved test. These tests consist of the SAT, ACT, Advanced SCAT, and or Spatial Test Battery (STB).

Institute for Advanced Critical and Cultural Studies (Grades 10-12)

This program takes place at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Students are required to have completed grade 10 or above and must be at least 16 years of age by the time the program starts. Through this program students can hone their critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities, as they discuss the many challenges facing the world. By listening to other students as well as guest speakers, the individual will begin to understand the lived experiences and diverse perspectives of others.

Process of Enrollment into the Johns Hopkins CTY

Students interested in the gifted and talented summer program are required to take one of the program’s approved tests. These assessments are necessary in order to establish eligibility for 7th Grade and above. Students are asked to take the SCAT test as a means of gaining eligibility for the Young Students Program for individuals in grades 2-6.

Once the student establishes eligibility, they have the option of completing an online application or asking for a paper application. To request a paper application, call 800-393-6095.

In order for students to be considered for the initial course assignment process, applications must be handed in by the end of the business day on January 17. After January 17, applications handed in by the end of the business day each Wednesday are considered for course assignment. Course assignment will continue once each week until the end of the registration process, which closes at the end of Spring. A late fee will be applied to applications that are received after the date of April 11th. To see the 2019 Summer Programs Registration Schedule, please visit the Johns Hopkins CTY Schedule for deadline and notification dates.

When is testing for the JHU-CTY performed?

Testing for this program is year round. Please do note we strongly recommend prepping for these tests before scheduling your test date as this is a very complex and advanced Math and Vocabulary test. (SCAT and STB)

How are Courses Assigned to Students?

Johns Hopkins CTY relies on a computer program to separate and assign as a group all students who send in their application by a certain date. In order to further understand how this system works, the computer program will divide students into primary categories. These consist of:

  • Students who are returning, that are ranked according to their test scores
  • Students who have never participated in any academic programs but have taken part in the CTY Johns Hopkins Talent search. These students are also ranked according to test scores.

The computer gives priority to those students who had previously attended the summer program. The system then assigns courses to those students who have never attended the program. Within these categories, students with higher test scores are awarded first assignment to courses. Placement for students with lower test scores will then follow.  When applying, students are required to list their top course choices (first, second, third, fourth, etc.). Students are allowed to include up to 15 choices on their application. When the computer begins to place students, it will begin by attempting to assign the student to their first choice class. If that class is full, the program will try for the second choice. If the second choice is full, it will continue to try placing the student into the rest of their desired courses. In situations where the student has not put down additional choices, or if all the courses are full, the computer will continue onto the next student. Students who list an array of courses, sites, or program sessions have a higher probability of being assigned to a course.

When Will Students Receive Notification of Course Assignment?

Students who choose to apply before January 17 will be told of their course assignment through email on January 18.  Once that date passes, students who apply by Wednesday of a certain week will know of their application status by email on Friday of that same week. Students will be sent their course assignment packet two weeks after being told of their placement in a certain course. Students who were not able to be assigned to one of their choices will still be notified of course assignment. This will happen at the same time as students who did receive one of their choices.

How can I learn more about CTY and stay updated on their programs and events?

Answer: To learn more about CTY and stay informed about their programs and events, visit their website at You can also sign up for their newsletter, follow them on social media, or contact their office directly for more information. The CTY website provides comprehensive information about their offerings, eligibility requirements, and application processes, as well as resources for parents and educators of gifted students.

Additional CTY Resources:

Center for Talented Youth

What’s New at CTY Summer 2018

CTY Programs

SCAT Test (School and College Ability Test)

What is the SCAT Test?

Best Methods for SCAT Test Prep

SCAT Practice Questions

How is the SCAT Test Scored?

STB Test (Spatial Test Battery)

Best Methods for STB Test Prep

Sample STB Practice Questions

How is the STB Test Scored?

100 Free Gifted Practice Questions

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