Also called CTY, I attended this program run by Johns Hopkins University for two years. As an academic summer camp, accepted students are given a choice of classes ranging from "Crafting the Essay" to "Introduction to Biomedical Studies". To be accepted, applicants must take the SAT and get a score that is within the 99th percentile of their age group. Weekdays entail 5 hours of class and 2 hours of study hall as well as the normal campish activities. Weekends are freetime and more campish activities. The program is hosted at a variety of college sites which are mostly located on the East Coast. There is a ratio of about one counselor per 12 students and 2 teachers per 15 students. The program can be attended by anyone between the ages of 12 and 16 who meets the expectations. Worst feature: Mandatory fun.


CTY, the Center for Talented Youth, is the name for all of Johns Hopkins University's talented student programs, including their talent search. It is also the name of one of the CTY Summer Programs called CTY. (That program was once called the CTY Older Students Summer Program. Whew!) The organization's structure looks like (1):

The Center for Academic Programs (CAP)
They administer the CTY summer programs, including CTY and Baby CTY
The Center for Talent Identification (CTI)
It conducts CTY's talent search, the process by which they identify eligible students and possible revenue sources
The Center for Distance Education (CDE)
They administer the CTY Math Tutorials and the CTY Writing Tutorials through distance education. The CTY Writing Tutorials were formerly known as the Expository Writing Tutorials (EWT).
The Study of Exceptional Talent (SET)
"SET works with a select group of the Talent Identification population (those children earning an SAT score of 700 on either the quantitative or verbal sections), and publishes the journal Imagine." (1)


The organization and suborganizations have an elaborate history of changing names and changing faces. Check out:

Center for Talented Youth history
The history of the organization
CTY history
The history of the summer camp



I never attended CTY, though I probably could have, modulo tuition. I heard about it the summer after my freshman year of university, when one of my professors emailed me to tell me that the Lancaster, Pennsylvania campus was short one teaching assistant and that I should apply. I applied in May---the program starts in June, so May is a bit late for applications---and, only because of their unexpected TA shortage, got a position as TA for Digital Logic (DIGI).

When I arrived, it seemed the entire administration had been briefed on the fact that I was 17 years old. When you are supposed to be an authority figure for students 13--16 years old, this can be an issue. Fortunately, I looked older than I was, so the students had no clue. Until, that is, one of the office assistants or somebody mentioned my age to one of them. For the rest of the session some of my students had no end of fun pointing out that, like them, I was legally a minor (``We have lights-out at 11:00, why don't you?'', etc.).

The students all impressed me with their intelligence and education. Some had gone to the best private schools in the northeastern United States. Had I met these people as peers and not as students, I could have formed many friendships. That, however, is discouraged by The Management, probably for good reason.

As others have pointed out, the rules for students are strict. No role-playing games. No girls on boys' floors, no boys on girls' floors. Lights out at a fixed hour. Lunch and dinner at a fixed hour. No leaving campus without an `adult'. Mandatory fun. Some of these rules make sense when you consider that some students are as young as thirteen and that many of them have very protective, very conservative parents, who would refuse to send them to a program with a looser interpretation of in loco parentis. For the most part, students do not seem to find the restrictions too taxing---and they are certainly more lax than at many boarding schools.

In the years since 1998, I have been too busy with university and work to take a six-week (paid) vacation to the Land of the Large Round Tables. No longer. I've just requested an application packet for employment at CTY in 2003. With luck, I'll be hired to the Franklin and Marshall campus in Lancaster, where I TAed the first time. {Update: the packet never arrived.}

Pay for instructors is, as of 2002, $1800--$2800 per three-week session (with two sessions per location each summer). For TAs, the pay is $900 per session. Instructors are expected to have graduate-level training in the field they will be teaching; TAs are expected to have a 3.2 GPA in the field. Teaching experience, especially with the target age group, is recommended. There is also a separate staff of RAs, who are paid $1000 per session. RA candidates should have experience as a camp counsellor or a dormitory RA.

For more information on summer employment at CTY, see:

  • Instructors:
  • TAs:
  • RAs:

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