Center for Talented Youth

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Center for Talented Youth
A CTY afternoon activity at LMU in Los Angeles
School typegifted education
Founded1979; 45 years ago (1979)
FounderJulian Stanley
AuthorityJohns Hopkins University
DirectorAmy Shelton
Age6 to 17
Classes offeredMathematics, Computer Science, Humanities, and Science
Accreditationgrades K–12[1]

The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) is a gifted education program for school-age children founded in 1979 by psychologist Julian Stanley at Johns Hopkins University. It was established as a research study into how academically advanced children learn and became the first program to identify academically talented students through above-grade-level testing and provide them with challenging learning opportunities.[2]

CTY offers summer, online, and family programs to students from around the world and has nearly 30,000 program enrollments annually. CTY is accredited for students in grades K to 12 by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

CTY published the Imagine magazine that provided educational opportunities and resources and student-written content for middle and high school students. The magazine was discontinued in June 2018.[3]



Dr. Julian Stanley, a psychology professor at Johns Hopkins University, launched the initial talent search in 1972, aiming to discover and support intellectually gifted students. Initially named SMPY (The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth), the program primarily focused on nurturing mathematical aptitude. In 1980, the CTY Summer Programs officially commenced, offering educational opportunities during the summer at St. Mary's in Maryland.[4]


The Center for Talented Youth (CTY) traces its origins back to the Office of Talent Identification and Development (OTID),[5] which marked the early stages of the organization. OTID emerged through the merger of Dr. Julian Stanley's Study for Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) and the Program for Verbally Gifted Youth (PVGY). Subsequently, the program was renamed the Center for the Advancement of Academically Advanced Youth (CTY). Initially, Dr. William C. George served as the first Director of the integrated program, a position later assumed by Dr. William G. Durden in 1982. In the beginning, the residential program was established in St. Mary's, with 109 students participating in its inaugural year. However, in 1980, CTY expanded its reach by initiating a Talent Search across the United States to identify gifted students. While the program at St. Mary's concluded by the end of the 1981 summer, CTY's growth was propelled by two locations: Carlisle and Lancaster, which played a significant role in shaping the organization's present-day stature.

Growth of organization[edit]

In the summer of 1982, Carlisle and Lancaster took over the operations previously held at St. Mary's and have continued to run their programs ever since. The partnership between Franklin & Marshall and Dickinson College played a crucial role in popularizing CTY. In 1986, Saratoga Springs became another location, further expanding the summer camp. CTY introduced a commuter program for young students in 1985, followed by the addition of a residential Young Students program in 1992, which included sites like Sandy Spring. Los Angeles also joined the CTY network in 1992, contributing to the organization's growing number of sites and enrolled students. In the same year, the Centre for Talented Youth in Ireland was established in Dublin. By 1992, CTY had approximately 6,000 students enrolled in summer programs across twelve sites in the United States and abroad. With CTY's expanding presence, the organization recognized the need to create a comprehensive name for their institution, giving rise to IAAY, the Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth.

IAAY and the start of CAA[edit]

On July 1, 1995, the organization adopted the name IAAY (Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth). The former Executive Director, Dr. William G. Durden, expressed that this change would enable the organization to better address the challenges of talent advancement in the 21st century and work more effectively with individual students.[4] Under Dr. Durden's leadership, IAAY introduced the Center for Academic Advancement (now known as the Center for Academic Explorations) to increase flexibility and accommodate students who narrowly missed the test score requirements of CTY.[4] This expansion allowed more students to participate in CTY programs while still benefiting from engaging and accelerated learning. The CAA program was launched in Bethlehem and Frederick in the summer of 1996 and expanded to include additional sites in Santa Cruz and the Marine Site at the University of Notre Dame - Maryland. By 1998, the total number of CAA sites reached 16. As the organization approached the turn of the century, they recognized that the name "Center for Talented Youth" better reflected their mission, leading to the official change back to CTY on January 1, 2000.

Trials and tribulations in the early 21st century[edit]

After reverting to the name Center for Talented Youth (CTY), the organization embarked on a period of expansion by adding more sites and programs. In 2000, Alexandria for Young Students was introduced, followed by Bristol in 2001 as part of the Center for Academic Advancement. In 2002, the Civic Leadership Institute was established at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. CTY y expanded to Tempe, Arizona, and Kaneohe, Hawaii, aiming to broaden its reach. However, these projects had a short lifespan, as the Arizona site closed in 2005 and the Hawaii site closed in 2009, despite its popularity in the later years. The organization also ventured into the international arena, launching two international branches in 2007: Nanjing, China, held at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, and Puebla, Mexico, at the Universidad de las Americas. The programs, particularly the one in Nanjing, were well-received, leading CTY to establish an additional site in Madrid, Spain. The Center faced challenges during the 2008 Recession, resulting in the closure of several sites between 2008 and 2010, including Loudonville, Puebla, Mexico, Madrid, Spain, San Francisco, Kaneohe, Monterrey, Mexico, and Nanjing, China, marking a difficult period for CTY. However, the organization persevered in its mission to provide accelerated learning opportunities worldwide. In 2010, Dr. Lea Ybarra stepped down as site director, and on August 1, 2011, Dr. Elaine Tuttle Hansen assumed the position. Although CTY discontinued its international sites, it began the process anew with the establishment of the Hong Kong site.


As of 2016, over 1.5 million students had participated in CTY's Talent Search. In 2016, over 28,000 students participated in CTY programs. Summer Programs were over 9,000 and CTY Online had over 13,000 enrollments. In 2016, CTY had summer programs running at 21 different sites, along with two international sites in Hong Kong and Anatolia, Greece. In 2018, CTY had instituted a new program to be at Yale University entitled the Institute for Advanced Cultural and Critical Studies.

2022 Collapse[edit]

In 2022, about one-third of CTY's summer sessions were canceled due to a lack of staffing[6] and staff background checks not clearing in time. Subsequently, Johns Hopkins provost Sunil Kumar removed executive director Virginia Roach and replaced her with Stephen Gange, a professor and executive vice provost for academic affairs. Kumar also promised an investigation into the incident, described by the Washington Post as a "partial collapse."[7] An open letter from CTY staff to the community described several organizational reasons for the lack of staffing, including the program's failure to obtain state-mandated security clearances for staff, inadequate COVID testing and monitoring policies, and a stated plan to dismiss without pay any staff who contracted COVID.[8]

Amy Shelton, PhD, became executive director of CTY in October 2022.[9] For summer 2024, CTY is offering 11 program sites, all in the United States.[10]

Admission requirements[edit]

CTY first requires students to sign up for an account and membership, which costs $50 for U.S. students and $60 for international students. They must then submit scores from a qualifying test to determine if they are at "Advanced CTY-Level" (defined as showing ability four grade levels above current enrolled grade) or "CTY-Level" (defined as showing ability two grade levels above current enrolled grade). These scores would then "qualify" her/him for CTY courses at the level achieved.[11] Eligible test scores include the SCAT, PSAT, SAT, ACT, and STB (Spatial Test Battery).[12] Students receive their course eligibility results online.[13]

Awards Ceremony of 2023[edit]

In February 2023, CTY hosted an awards ceremony for current and incoming CTY students for their "exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, SCAT, or similar assessment taken as part of an international talent search."[14] About 15,300 students from 76 countries participated in CTY's talent search in the 2021-22 school year, and 27 percent of them qualified for the awards ceremony. Based on their performance on these tests, they either received High or Grand Honors certificates and medals, along with receptions from notable CTY alumni.

Tuition and Financial Aid[edit]

In 2024, On-Campus Summer Programs ranged in tuition from $3,099 to $6,819 (USD).[15] In the 2023-24 School Year, online and synchronous, or "LIVE" courses, cost $1,125, asynchronous courses cost $955-$1,455, session-based courses cost $695-$2,130, and clubs cost $185-$380.[16]

Full-time JHU staff can apply for 50% tuition remission.[16]

Families are allowed to apply for financial aid if their child is a United States citizen, an eligible permanent U.S. resident with a green card, or permanently resides in the United States. Families must also not owe any tuition or fees from a previous year's CTY program.[16]




Location Code Institution Opened Students[17]
Lancaster, Pennsylvania LAN Franklin & Marshall College 1982 320
Carlisle, Pennsylvania CAR Dickinson College 1982 340
Baltimore, Maryland JHU Johns Hopkins University 1991 240
Saratoga Springs, New York SAR Skidmore College 1986 220
Los Angeles, California LOS Loyola Marymount University 1992 280
Bristol, Rhode Island BRI Roger Williams University 2001 250
Seattle, Washington SUN Seattle University 2012 220
Princeton, New Jersey PRN Princeton University 2006 200
Haverford, Pennsylvania HAV Haverford College 2013 260
Berkeley, California BRK University of California, Berkeley 2010 100
Hong Kong HKU University of Hong Kong 2013 200
Collegeville, Pennsylvania PAN Ursinus College 2018 180
Dublin, Ireland DCU Dublin City University 1992 250
Thessaloniki, Greece ACT Anatolia College 2014 100



Former CTY executive director Elaine Tuttle Hansen (2011–2018) was interviewed by National Public Radio and published on the Opinion-Editorial pages of The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, and The Baltimore Sun.[18]

In July 2004, CTY was featured in an article in The New Yorker.[19]

In 2006, the camp was shown in an hour-long CNN special on gifted children.[20]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable CTY alumni include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Accreditation Information for Schools and Parents". The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.
  2. ^ "CTY Mission & History". The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  3. ^ "Imagine Magazine". The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Lighting the Match-- CTY Expands its Mission!". May 19, 1997. Archived from the original on May 19, 1997. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  5. ^ Hopkins to Offer Tests in Search for Talented Students
  6. ^ St. George, Donna (June 27, 2022). "Johns Hopkins summer programs canceled as some students are en route". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  7. ^ George, Donna St (July 1, 2022). "Johns Hopkins ousts leader of summer programs canceled at last minute". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  8. ^ "Mass cancellations at the Center for Talented Youth were caused by organizational failures, staffers say". Baltimore Brew. Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  9. ^ "Leadership | Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY)". Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  10. ^ "Site Locations | Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY)". Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  11. ^ "Eligibility Scores". Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY). Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  12. ^ "Tests and Testing". Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY). Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  13. ^ "Get Started". Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY). Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  14. ^ "CTY Celebrates Top Students for Academic Excellence | Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY)". February 14, 2023. Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  15. ^ "On-Campus Summer Programs Tuition and Financial Aid | Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY)". Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  16. ^ a b c "Tuition and Financial Aid | Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY)". Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  17. ^ "Site Locations | Intensive Studies". Center for Talented Youth. Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  18. ^ "Executive Commentary". Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  19. ^ Bilger, Burkhard (July 19, 2004). "Nerd Camp". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Presenter: Sanjay Gupta (September 17, 2006). "Genius: Quest for Extreme Brain Power". special. CNN.
  21. ^ "Press Release: Center for Talented Youth Alumni Net Top Academic Honors". 2006.
  22. ^ "Lady Gaga went to geek camp, too". Retrieved May 23, 2024.
  23. ^ McGoldrick, Debbie (June 23, 2009). "Lynch a Writing Star". IrishCentral.
  24. ^ "Cogito Interview".[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Vozzella, Laura (November 4, 2009). "Just like Mom (and Sister) didn't used to make". Baltimore Sun.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Terence Tao receives 2014 CTY Distinguished Alumni Award". Center for Talented Youth. Archived from the original on January 9, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  27. ^ "Studying sensory systems of fruit flies, worms a stroke of genius". UCLA Newsroom. Archived from the original on September 28, 2014.
  28. ^ "Former CTY student earns MacArthur 'genius grant'". HUB Johns Hopkins University. September 19, 2014.
  29. ^ Aitel, Dave (November 12, 2015). "How to crush it". Dailydave (Mailing list). Archived from the original on June 21, 2017.{{cite mailing list}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  30. ^ "Ronan Farrow: 'I Was Raised With An Extraordinary Sense Of Public Service'". Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  31. ^ DeFranco, Philip. "A Conversation With... - MKBHD On The WORST Tech Launch Ever, Death Of Privacy, & More | Ep. 18 A Conversation With". Google Podcasts. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  32. ^ Lieberman, Erez (2010). "Evolution and the emergence of structure". ProQuest. ProQuest 612707418. Retrieved July 28, 2023.

External links[edit]