What Is CTY at Johns Hopkins? Complete Guide

What Is the CTY Talent Search?

The Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at Johns Hopkins is a program designed to identify and nurture talented K-12 students. CTY offers summer and online programs, courses, and academic support for highly gifted students to help them develop their skills and reach their full potential. The program focuses on areas such as math, science, writing, and humanities, and provides a challenging and stimulating environment for students to learn and grow. CTY also offers resources and guidance for parents, educators, and schools to support gifted students in their communities.

7 Steps To Apply To CTY Talent Search

Here are the steps to apply to the CTY Talent Search:

1. Visit the CTY Talent Search website at https://cty.jhu.edu/cty-talent-search/.

2. Click on "Enroll" or "Join CTY" to create an account and register for the Talent Search.

3. Provide basic information about the student, including their name, address, and school information.

4. Pay the registration fee, which varies depending on the grade level of the student and the time of year.

5. Choose the testing option for the student: SAT, ACT, or SCAT (for younger students).

6. Schedule the test date and location. CTY provides a list of testing sites and dates.

7. After the student takes the test, CTY will provide the family with detailed score reports and resources for further academic enrichment.

Note that the application process may vary slightly depending on the specific testing option and grade level of the student. It's best to review the CTY Talent Search website thoroughly for specific instructions and requirements.

Who's Eligible for the CTY Talent Search?

The CTY Talent Search is open to academically talented students in grades 2-8 (for SCAT testing) or grades 7-9 (for SAT or ACT testing) who demonstrate advanced abilities and an eagerness to learn. Students must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. For SCAT testing:

Students must be in grades 2-8 and score at or above the 95th percentile on a nationally normed standardized test or demonstrate similar academic achievement in math, verbal, or reading.

2. For SAT or ACT testing:

Students must be in grades 7-9 and score at or above the 95th percentile on a nationally normed standardized test or demonstrate similar academic achievement in math, verbal, or reading.

3. Students must have a strong motivation and desire to learn and engage in challenging coursework.
4. Students can be from the United States or international locations.

It's important to note that eligibility for the CTY Talent Search does not guarantee admission to CTY programs or courses. The Talent Search serves as a way to identify academically talented students who may benefit from further enrichment opportunities offered by CTY.

When Does the CTY Talent Search Happen?

The CTY Talent Search happens year-round, with various testing dates and deadlines depending on the testing option chosen by the student. Here are some general timelines for the CTY Talent Search:

1. SCAT Testing:

SCAT (School and College Ability Test) is an above-grade-level test offered by CTY for students in grades 2-8. SCAT testing can be conducted at a student's school or at an authorized testing center. The test can be taken on flexible dates throughout the year, and registration deadlines are typically a few weeks before the testing date.

2. SAT or ACT Testing:

CTY accepts scores from the SAT or ACT as part of the Talent Search for students in grades 7-9. Students can take the official SAT or ACT exams on nationally scheduled test dates offered by the respective testing agencies. Registration for the SAT or ACT exams typically opens several months in advance, and students need to register directly with the testing agency.

It's important to check the CTY website or contact CTY directly for the most up-to-date information on testing dates, deadlines, and registration procedures for the CTY Talent Search.

Why Should You Do the CTY Talent Search?

The CTY Talent Search offers many benefits to academically talented students. Some of these benefits include:

1. Access to above-grade-level testing:

Students who participate in the talent search are given the opportunity to take advanced tests, which can provide a more accurate assessment of their abilities than their grade-level tests.

2. Recognition of academic achievements:

Students who perform well on the tests may receive awards and certificates that recognize their academic achievements.

3. Opportunities to participate in CTY programs:

Students who participate in the talent search are eligible to attend CTY summer and online programs, which offer a range of challenging and engaging courses in a variety of subjects.

4. Opportunities to connect with other academically talented students:

CTY programs provide a community of like-minded students who share an interest in learning and academic achievement. 

Overall, the CTY Talent Search can help students discover their strengths and interests, and provide opportunities for them to challenge themselves and develop their talents.

How Much Does CTY Cost?

The cost of participating in the CTY Talent Search varies depending on the specific program and services chosen. As of my knowledge cutoff date in September 2021, the fee for the CTY Talent Search program is $35, which covers the cost of above-grade-level testing and the initial eligibility determination. Additional fees may apply for optional services such as score reports, enrollment in CTY programs, and other services offered by CTY. It's recommended to visit the CTY website or contact CTY directly for the most up-to-date and accurate information on program costs. Financial aid may also be available for eligible families to help offset the cost of participation in CTY programs.

Can You Get Financial Aid?

Yes, CTY offers financial aid to eligible families to help offset the cost of participation in their programs, including the Talent Search. Financial aid is based on a family's demonstrated financial need and is awarded on a case-by-case basis. The amount of financial aid awarded can vary depending on various factors such as family income, family size, and program fees. CTY provides information and guidance on their website regarding the financial aid application process, including the required documents and deadlines. It's recommended to review the CTY website or contact CTY directly for detailed information on the financial aid process and eligibility criteria.

Talent Search Only: Family Academic Programs

The CTY Talent Search provides students with access to a range of academic programs designed to challenge and engage advanced learners. These programs are designed to be challenging and enriching, with a focus on building critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative skills.

Some of the family academic programs available through CTY Talent Search include:

1. Summer Programs:

CTY offers summer programs for students in grades 2-12. These programs cover a wide range of subjects and are designed to challenge and engage advanced learners.

2. Online Programs:

CTY offers a variety of online courses for students in grades K-12. These courses cover a wide range of subjects, including math, science, writing, and humanities.

3. Family Academic Programs:

CTY offers a variety of family academic programs, including family weekends and family academic conferences. These programs are designed to provide families with opportunities to learn and grow together.

4. Independent Learning:

CTY provides independent learning options for students who are looking for more flexibility in their academic pursuits. These options include distance learning courses and individualized study plans.

Financial aid is available for some of these programs, and families are encouraged to explore the options available to them through the CTY Talent Search.

6 Tips to Getting into CTY

Here are some tips to increase your chances:

1. Start Early:

The CTY program starts accepting applications in the fall, so make sure to start your application early in the process.

2. Take Challenging Courses:

The CTY program looks for students who excel in challenging courses, such as honors or advanced placement (AP) courses.

3. Score High on Tests:

The CTY program requires either SAT or ACT scores for eligibility. Aim for high scores on these tests to increase your chances of acceptance.

4. Get Good Grades:

The CTY program considers grades in its admission decisions. Make sure to keep your grades up in all of your classes.

5. Have a Passion for Learning:

The CTY program seeks students who are passionate about learning and want to explore new academic challenges.

6. Submit a Strong Application:

Make sure your application is complete and free of errors. Highlight your academic achievements and extracurricular activities in your application. 

Remember, the CTY program is highly competitive, so it's important to present yourself in the best possible light.


In conclusion, CTY at Johns Hopkins offers a wide range of programs and opportunities for academically talented students. The CTY Talent Search is the first step in the admission process, and it provides students with access to a variety of academic programs and resources. Eligibility for the talent search is based on standardized test scores, and financial aid is available for those who need it. With dedication and hard work, students can take advantage of the opportunities offered by CTY and reach their full academic potential.