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Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose CTY Online Programs?

Why take an online course?

CTY Online Programs offers students in grades PreK-12 challenging academic coursework throughout the year. Some students use the courses to enrich and supplement their curriculum during the school year. Other students enroll to advance academic goals during the summer. CTY Online Programs courses are important components of the curriculum for many home schoolers as well. Many students arrange with their schools to take courses for credit, as more advanced replacements for regular classes at school. Others take courses for the love of learning, to build up confidence in a subject, or to prepare for an AP, ACT, or SAT test.

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How is CTY Online Programs different from other online programs, many of which are free or very low cost?

A key factor is CTY Online Programs' extraordinary instructors. Our instructors guide your bright student through the course, tailoring it to his or her needs. CTY instructors spend time interacting with students -- by email, phone, or live sessions in virtual classrooms -- and make sure each student remains engaged and motivated.

  • In a writing course, for example, students receive very extensive feedback about their work, and not just “A+ good job” from an instructor who may need to spend more attention on struggling students than on exceptional ones. CTY Online Programs instructors, many of whom are published authors, offer praise, constructive criticism, helpful tips, humor, and constant encouragement to keep improving.
  • Parents frequently praise the critical reading instructors for their ability to empower students to dig deeper into their thinking and writing based on their reading. Read comments from students, parents, and teachers to see more detailed feedback on the critical reading courses.
  • Science courses, such as Inventions in Engineering and Introduction to Forensics, include many hands-on activities and labs, all designed to be done safely at home, allowing students to examine fingerprints, conduct experiments, and analyze real data that they collect.
  • When math students struggle with a difficult problem, from fractions in Grade 5 to functions in Calculus, their instructors are right there to help guide them by meeting them one-on-one online in the virtual classroom.
  • With their instructor’s help, computer science students in courses such as Introduction to Web Design and Scratch Programming build their own websites and program lively videogames to challenge their friends.
  • Students taking Chinese, Arabic, or Spanish meet online for twice-weekly one-hour sessions to talk with their instructors and classmates.

CTY Online Programs’ instructors are an exceptional group of experienced teachers with expertise both in their understanding of the needs of academically advanced students and in methods of teaching in an online environment. Visit this page to learn more about our instructors.

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Questions about admissions and eligibility

How do I qualify for the CTY Online Programs?

CTY Online Programs admits students who demonstrate outstanding academic ability. Students must establish eligibility to enroll. For more details, visit the Admissions and Eligibility page.

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How do I arrange to test?

New students in grades PreK through 1 should visit the Admissions and Eligibility page of the CTY Online Programs website to learn how to apply for admission.

Students in grades 2 through 8 enter the CTY Talent Search, which is open to students who have scored at the 95th percentile or higher on one or more areas of a nationally normed standardized test. Once entered into the Talent Search, students register to take an appropriate above-grade test. Visit CTY’s Talent Search page for more information about testing and how to register.

Students in grades 9 through 12 can become eligible by achieving a qualifying score on the Advanced SCAT, SAT-I, ACT, PSAT 8/9 or PSAT 10/NMSQT. To take the SAT-I, ACT, PSAT 8/9 or PSAT 10/NMSQT, please register directly with the testing agency. Students can arrange to take the Advanced SCAT through CTY’s Diagnostic and Counseling Center.

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How do I send qualifying test scores to CTY?

Parents will have the opportunity to upload a copy of their child's qualifying scores when completing the online program application.

Students who wish to establish eligibility with the SAT or ACT should select "Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth" and/or CEEB code "5334" when selecting reporting options in order for test scores to be sent to CTY.

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Can I still take a course even if I’ve never tested?

CTY Online Programs may offer provisional admission allowing new students to take one online course if they are unable to test in time (in cases where there is a session-based course application deadline, for example) and can demonstrate outstanding academic abilities through standardized tests. Visit CTY Online Programs’ provisional admission information page for more details and instructions on how to apply.

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Questions about tuition and fees

How much does it cost? Are there additional fees?

  • Tuition for individually paced courses is based on the amount of time selected.
  • Tuition for session-based and flexi-paced courses varies by course.
  • A non-refundable application fee is required for all applicants.
  • Some courses require the separate purchase of a textbook or other course materials. See the specific course description page for more information. (Information about course materials can be found under the ‘Materials Needed’ tab on each course description page.)

Please visit the Tuition and Fees page for more detailed information.

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Do I pay everything all at once?

Full payment of tuition and fees must accompany the application. Students may enroll only after all past due balances are paid (including balances from other CTY programs). Payments are applied to oldest balances first and then to current application requirements. 

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What is the refund policy?

Please see the Tuition and Fees page to review CTY Online Programs’ refund policy.

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Does CTY offer financial assistance or scholarships?

Financial aid is available to students whose families demonstrate financial need. Please refer to our Financial Aid section for information on financial aid eligibility and instructions on how to apply.

CTY Special Scholarships are based on a combination of need and merit, from individuals and foundations dedicated to supporting CTY.

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Questions about selecting a course and getting started

Which courses am I eligible to take?

CTY focuses on challenging students in their areas of strength. Students who qualify in the quantitative area of the appropriate test are eligible to take courses in math, computer science and technology, engineering, or the sciences, while students who qualify in the verbal portion can take courses in writing, grammar, critical reading, visual literacy, humanities, or social science. Note that for certain subjects that tap a range of abilities, such as world language, music, web design, and JavaScript, students who achieve qualifying scores in any of these areas become eligible to enroll.

To see the programs and courses for which you are eligible, use the CTY Eligibility Assessment if you have test scores for SCAT, SAT, PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10/NMSQT, or ACT tests, or check the tables showing eligibility guidelines and qualifying scores on the Eligibility page. You should also review the course descriptions by clicking on the course title in the Course Catalog since many courses have prerequisites.

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Is placement testing available?

CTY Online Programs offers a free, online placement testing service for math, science, and computer science for qualified students. Request a placement test to help determine appropriate placement.

Placement tests for the Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish courses are also available upon request. Please email to request a placement test for a world language course.

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When do courses begin and end?

CTY Online Programs' math, most computer science and technology, and most science courses are individually paced, and students can request to start at any time of the year. Please note that there is a processing time of two weeks for individually paced course applications.

Students enroll for a period of time (3, 6, or 9 months) and can work at their own speed under the guidance of their instructor. If students complete a course with at least 5 days enrollment time remaining, they can advance to the next course to finish their enrollment period. If students do not complete the course within the initial 3, 6, or 9 month enrollment, they can re-enroll and purchase additional time.

Courses in writing, grammar, critical reading, world languages, music, visual fluency, engineering, forensics, NCAA-approved math, NCAA-approved science, and all AP courses are session-based, with specific start and end dates.  See the Course Calendar for start and end dates, and application deadlines.

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How soon can I begin?

Session-based courses have specific start and end dates; please visit the Course Calendar for more information.

You will need to allow two weeks for application processing when registering for an individually paced course. During our peak season*, some delay is unavoidable.  However, we realize that this is a hardship for many of our CTY Online Programs students so we have an administrative procedure that may allow some students to move ahead their start dates once they have everything they need to get started in the course.  Students must have their course assignment email and any required materials for the course before electing to request a start date change

*Due to the high volume of enrollments during our peak summer period, a delay of two weeks (at the minimum) between registration and starting date is unavoidable during our peak summer months for individually paced courses.

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Can I start the same day I register?

It takes at least several business days to process payment, assign an instructor, and add a student into a course, so it is not possible to begin an individually paced course the same date a student submits an application to CTY. We thank you in advance for your patience.

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What materials will I need?

Some courses require the purchase of textbooks, lab kits, or other materials. See course descriptions for details. Be sure to acquire any required materials before the start of the course.

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What are the system requirements?

Wondering if a course will run on a Mac or iPad?  System requirements vary by course.  See individual course descriptions for details. Always check the technical requirements prior to enrolling. 

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How do we access the course?

Students can access their active courses by logging in through the CTY Online Programs Course Access page with the access codes provided in the course assignment email.

Note: Students will not be able to login until the course start date.

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Do I need to be online at a specific time?

Students do not need to be online at a specific time, with the exception of students enrolled in NCAA-approved math, NCAA-approved science, or world language courses. Virtual classroom meeting times will be provided to families at the start of the session; if there is a scheduling conflict, please notify the instructor immediately.

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Questions about managing your enrollment

What is MyCTY?

MyCTY is the portal on our website through which parents can apply for CTY Online Programs courses and any other CTY program such as Talent Search, Family Academic Programs, and Summer Programs. You can also use MyCTY to:

  • Update contact information
  • Pause, resume, or purchase additional enrollment time for individually paced courses
  • Order your student's Official Academic Record
  • View student participation details and CTY academic record
  • Check account balance

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Can students take a break in the course?

Students who are unable to work on an individually paced course because of a vacation, illness, or other reasons can pause their enrollment for breaks of seven days or longer, up to one year. For detailed instructions on how to pause an individually paced course and learn more about the pause policy, please visit the Pause page.

Note: Session-based and flexi-paced courses cannot be paused.

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Can students extend the enrollment?

Parents can purchase additional enrollment time for their child's current individually paced course through MyCTY. For more details, please visit the Re-enrollment page.

Note: Session-based and flexi-paced courses cannot be extended.

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How long will I have access to the course materials?

Students will only have access to the online course materials while their course is active, with the exception of session-based AP courses. Students will be able to access their session-based AP courses for review until the next AP test dates.

Once a course has been completed or an enrollment period has expired, students will no longer have access.

All student content will be deleted from the server one year after a course is completed.  Students who wish to save copies of their work and of their instructor’s feedback should download and save the materials to their own computer during the course.

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Questions about credit and accreditation

Do we receive documentation when we complete the course?

CTY acknowledges successful completion of each course by issuing a course completion document and certificate. Students typically receive their course completion document and certificate within 2-3 weeks after the course end date. International students should allow extra time for delivery.

Students who need documentation sooner can print out their unofficial academic record via MyCTY.

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How do I obtain a record of my CTY Online Programs participation?

CTY offers an Official Academic Record that indicates all of the student's participation within CTY.

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Can I get credit for my course?

Please see the Credit or Placement page, or contact us by email for more information on how CTY Online Programs works with schools. 

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Is CTY accredited?

CTY is proud of the fact we're accredited for K-12th grade by The Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

CTY Online Programs courses for 9th to 12th graders may also be used in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) initial eligibility certification process.  Our NCAA High School code is 975334.

What does this mean? The academic rigor of our program is high enough for schools to be comfortable giving credit or placement to students who successfully complete CTY's Summer or CTY Online Programs courses. They can even incorporate our courses in the classroom!

We encourage schools to consider the advantages CTY's accreditation offers their teachers and students. To find out more, you can contact us by email, or phone (410) 735-6278.

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