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Here are the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SET.

Qualifying for SET

How do I qualify for SET?

Students qualify for SET by scoring at least 700 on either the Math or Verbal (Critical Reading) SAT before age 13. Students who take the SAT after their 13th birthday may qualify for SET by scoring an additional 10 points above 700 for each month after their 13th birthday. Thus, a student who takes the SAT three months and two weeks after his or her 13th birthday would qualify for SET with a score of at least 730 on either the SAT-Math or SAT-Critical Reading.

How do I register to take the SAT if I am under 13?

Students under 13 cannot register online for the SAT. They must register using the SAT Paper Registration form, which can be obtained in two ways:

  1. Students in grades 7 or 8 can register for CTY's Talent Search for Grades 7-8 and will be mailed a form.
  2. Parents may request a form at a nearby high school.

Note: Students in 6th grade who wish to take the SAT through CTY’s Talent Search must request special permission via email from Liz Albert.

Can I qualify for SET if I am older than 13?

Yes. See the first Q&A.

Can I qualify for SET if I am in 6th grade or under?

Yes. SET eligibility is based solely on age and SAT score, not grade in school.

Do I have to take the SAT through CTY to qualify for SET?

No. Students may qualify for SET by taking the SAT through CTY, through another Talent Search (such as CTD or TIP), or on their own. Students who test outside CTY should send a copy of their official SAT score report to SET.

Can international students qualify for and join SET?

Yes, we welcome international students and American students living abroad. If you send us a copy of your official SAT score report, we will be happy to invite you to join.

Is the SAT the only test by which a student may qualify for SET?

Yes. SET does not accept other tests (ACT, PLUS, PSAT, SAT Subject tests, SCAT, Stanford Achievement Test, Stanford-Binet, Spatial Test Battery) in place of the SAT. Students who achieve high scores on such tests and meet age requirements are encouraged to take the SAT for eligibility.

Do I need to register for SET before I take the SAT?

No. Students do not register with SET before taking the SAT; they are invited to join SET after they take the SAT if they have qualified.

Do I need to notify SET of my SAT scores?

Does CTY accept unofficial SAT score reports?

No. We need an official score report, which includes your full name, mailing address, and date of birth (see an example).

Your Online Score Report (example, example) is not an official score report.

If you do not have a copy of your official score report, you can request that CollegeBoard send an official score report to CTY. Select "Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth" and/or reporting code "5334".

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Joining SET

How do I join SET?

To become a member of SET, a student must complete and return the SET registration forms. Once we receive a student's completed registration materials, the student becomes a member of SET, with all the privileges that entails... which leads to the next question.

I qualified for SET. Am I automatically a SET member?

No. To join SET, you must complete and return the SET registration materials you receive with your e-invitation to join SET. You will receive an e-invitation to join SET once CTY receives your SAT scores.

What are the benefits of joining SET?

SET members receive SET's publications, including the award-winning Imagine magazine, as well as individual educational counseling from the SET staff, if they desire. SET also helps organize local gatherings, where SET families can meet one another. Learn more about SET's services here.

Is there a membership fee to join SET?

No. SET's services are free to qualified students who join SET. We do, however, welcome donations from individuals who value our services.

What will be asked of me as a SET member?

Students and parents often wonder what sort of commitment is expected of SET members. Initially, students must complete a set of registration materials in order to join SET. Thereafter, they will receive annual update forms every spring, to help us keep up with their interests, activities, and contact information. We sometimes send SET members additional surveys (on specific topics, such as involvement in math extracurricular activities, for example). In all cases, students choose how much to disclose.

Our primary goal is to assist exceptionally able students and to provide them with counseling and information about programs and opportunities that may be of interest to them. We do that primarily through our publications, which SET members receive for free. Most of our efforts are focused on getting information to SET members, not from them. We understand that people vary greatly in how much they like to share about themselves, and we do not want students who qualify for SET to miss out on information that may be helpful to them simply because they don't feel comfortable sharing certain personal information. While SET's primary mission is to assist exceptionally able students, it is also an ongoing research study of how best to accomplish that goal, and we try to strike a balance between those objectives.

I qualified for SET several years ago but did not join at that time. Can I join now?

Yes. If you qualified for SET through CTY, we should have a record of your SAT score. If we do, we will send you an e-invitation after you contact us. If you did not qualify through CTY, you will need to send us a copy of your SAT score report before we can send you an e-invitation.

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CTY Awards Ceremonies

Will I be invited to a CTY Awards Ceremony?

This is a little complicated.

CTY hosts two kinds of ceremonies to celebrate the outstanding achievement of Talent Search participants: regional* Awards Ceremonies and an international Grand Ceremony (explained in more detail in a separate FAQ). At these events, eligible students are individually recognized and receive a High Honors pin. Eligible students who cannot attend are mailed their award after the ceremony is held.

* The "regional" ceremony for students living in Asia is CTY's International Awards Ceremony, held annually in Hong Kong.

To be invited to a 2016 regional CTY Awards Ceremony, you must meet the following criteria:

If you took the SAT in March-June 2015:

If you took the SAT in July 2015-February 2016:

To be invited to the 2016 Grand Ceremony, you must meet the following criteria:

Do SET members receive special recognition at CTY Awards Ceremonies?

Yes. At CTY's regional Awards Ceremonies, eligible students (those who qualified for SET during that Talent Search year and were registered for CTY's Talent Search for that year) are recognized. The names of all eligible SET qualifiers for that year are printed in the Awards Ceremony program.

Do I have to register for CTY Talent Search to attend a CTY Awards Ceremony?

YES. Only registered CTY Talent Search participants are eligible for CTY's Awards Ceremonies. If you wish to attend a CTY Awards Ceremony, you must register for CTY's current Talent Search.

I have already taken the SAT. Can I still register for CTY Talent Search so I can attend a CTY Awards Ceremony?

If you took the SAT independent of CTY, you can still register for CTY Talent Search — even after you have taken the SAT. You will not have to retake the SAT.

Whether you will be invited to an Awards Ceremony depends on when you took the SAT.

I live in a state where CTY does not holds Awards Ceremonies. Will I receive any recognition?

If you meet all the requirements except that you live in a state where CTY does not hold regional Awards Ceremonies, your name will be listed in the CTY Awards Ceremony program as a SET qualifier and you will be invited to attend a regional Awards Ceremony. Your name will also be listed in the Grand Ceremony program and you will be invited to attend the Grand Ceremony.

Are SET qualifiers invited to CTY's Grand Ceremony?

CTY hosts an annual Grand Awards Ceremony at Johns Hopkins University to honor top Talent Search participants from around the world. All students who qualify for SET in a given Talent Search year, are in 8th grade or under, and have registered for that year's CTY's Talent Search are invited to attend. This includes SET qualifiers in 6th grade and under and in 8th grade, whose grades and/or scores do not match the requirements listed in the Grand Ceremony Eligibility Chart.

At this ceremony, students receive a medal honoring their outstanding academic achievements. Students who are invited to the Grand Ceremony but are unable to attend will be listed in the program and will receive their medal by mail after the ceremony is held.

The 2016 Grand Ceremony will be held in October 2016 at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.

Watch video of Medal Day.

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Other FAQs

Do SET members receive scholarships to CTY programs?

No, SET members do not automatically receive scholarships as a benefit of joining SET. CTY scholarships that recognize academic excellence may be of special interest to students who qualify for SET. And SET members may apply for all relevant need-based scholarships.

What are the one-course scholarships some SET members receive?

Some CTY Talent Search participants receive a one-course scholarship to a college or community college near their home if a nearby school grants CTY such a scholarship. Students do not apply for these scholarships; they are automatically considered. To be eligible, a student must be current a Talent Search participant who took the SAT or ACT by February 28; scholarships are awarded to the highest scoring participant living closest to the donating institution. Students who receive one-course scholarships are notified by email in mid-July by CTY's Talent Search department. SET does not determine who receives these scholarships.

Does SET offer courses?

No. We refer students to a wide variety of programs that may be appropriate to develop their interests and exceptional abilities.

Does SET write letters of recommendation for SET members?

Yes. For a full explanation, please see this page.

Is there an online update form for SET members?

There are three online forms:

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