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Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY): Understanding the Different Programs

Understanding the Different CTY Programs

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) program is a fantastic opportunity for gifted students to discover their full potential beyond the traditional classroom.

CTY offers many different options for students in grades K-12.

In this blog post, we break down a few of the major different programs for 7th and 8th graders. You can learn more in our full CTY guide for parents and students, such as key program benefits, how to qualify, and more.

Family Programs

Family programs are open to students from grades 2-12, plus their parents.

The programs are mostly all-day or overnight. They are described by CTY as interactive learning experiences, where participants gain special access to distinguished academic locations such as museums, aquariums, zoos, and academic centers.

There is even a special Educational Travel program. Families can take longer trips to amazing locations such as Darwin’s Galapagos Islands or the major cities of Italy. These programs are obviously much more expensive, but offer parents and students the opportunity to learn in-depth about an area’s culture and history.

Overall, the biggest difference between the Family programs and other CTY programs is the direct involvement of parents. The rest of CTY programs are for students only.

How to Qualify and Costs: There are no qualifying assessments or eligibility requirements. As long as you and your child complete the registration process and pay the program fees, you can join. Day and overnight trips are typically between $130 – $200, but the Educational Travel program can range anywhere from $2500 – $7000, not counting airfare.

Learn More: Explore CTY’s full list of family programs for 7th and 8th graders.

Online Programs

CTY’s Online Programs are for advanced students seeking to enrich and accelerate their education in a particular subject.

These courses offer student wonderful opportunities to learn about areas of study they might not otherwise encounter at school. Students can also explore more advanced subjects, such as computer science, engineering, and world languages in greater depth.

Furthermore, unlike the other programs, students don’t need to travel far nor be restricted by what’s available nearby, as the courses all take place online.

How to Qualify and Costs: Just like the Family Programs, the online programs are not free. Costs can range anywhere from $600-$2000, depending upon the course and it’s length. However, unlike the Family Programs, students can apply for need-based financial aid. Find out more here.

Students must take a qualifying assessment to be eligible for online courses (learn more here). Additionally, there are sometimes prerequisites for joining a course. We recommend that parents consult the course catalog to determine which courses their child can qualify for.

Learn More: Explore CTY’s course catalog for 6-8 graders.

Summer Programs

CTY’s Summer Programs are one of the most popular aspects of Johns Hopkins’ CTY program. It is a 3-week summer camp for gifted and talented students.

Students get the opportunity to make friends with other exceptional students from all over the world, bond over common academic interests, and most importantly, advance their talents and skills in a rigorous learning environment.

CTY Summer Program is offered in several locations throughout the U.S., as well as Hong Kong.

For 7th – 8th graders, there are two options:

  • Academic Explorations: Students get an opportunity to explore and apply new concepts, beyond the classroom.
  • Intensive Studies: Students study a college-level or advanced high school subject at a faster and more advanced pace.

How to Qualify and Costs: Academic Explorations introduces students to topics not normally covered in school, and courses does not require prior knowledge or prerequisites. They do, however, require students to earn a qualifying score on an eligibility assessment (You can find out more about the eligibility assessment by checking our our blog here).

The Intensive Studies programs are more advanced than the Academic Explorations and do require prior knowledge and certain prerequisites. These courses also have eligibility requirements. Click the Academic Explorations or Intensive Studies links above to see a full course catalog and their individual requirements.

The summer programs is typically between $4000-$5000 depending upon location and any additional fees. However, you can apply for financial aid. Find out more here.

International Programs

CTY International advances the CTY programs in many countries around the world.

Currently, the International Program also allows international students to participate in CTY Prep programs while traveling through or visiting the United States. If this applies to you and your child, click to get more information on how to participate.

Study of Exceptional Students (SET)

The Study of Exceptional Students program may be of special interest to parents of gifted 7th graders. In this program, extraordinarily gifted young people are recognized and then provided support and expert counseling on how best to develop and nurture their talents before entering elite colleges.

How to Qualify: To qualify, students need to earn an impressive score of 700 or higher on the Math or Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT before they turn 13. They must submit their scores to CTY. Once CTY has receive their official scores, the student will be invited to join SET.

Learn More: Check out CTY’s eligibility requirements for SET 


Interested in preparing your talented 7th or 8th grader to qualify for CTY’s online or summer programs?

Our Johns Hopkins CTY Prep course is uniquely designed to prepare students to earn a CTY Advanced qualifying score on the SAT for both the Math and Verbal sections.  Explore our course or contact us for a FREE consultation. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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