Skip Navigation

Questions about the Study of Exceptional Talent

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 or Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) 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-Verbal.

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. College Board requires that all students be at least 10 years old at the time of SAT registration.

The SAT paper registration form can be obtained as follows:​

  • Students in grades 7 or 8 who are under 13 can register for CTY's Talent Search and will be mailed a form.
  • Students in grade 6 or below and are at least 10 years old can register for CTY’s Talent Search and send a special request for SAT to
  • Parents may request a form at a nearby high school and mail it directly to the College Board.

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 - jpg image).

Your Online Score Report (These examples are .jpg images and open in new window: example 1, example 2) 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".

Back to top

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 the SET Precollege Newsletter, 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.

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.

Back to top

CTY Awards Ceremonies

Will I be invited to a CTY Awards Ceremony?

CTY hosts an annual Grand Awards Ceremony at Johns Hopkins University to honor top participants from around the world in a given Talent Search year, which runs from July 1 – June 30 and coincides with the academic year for students in the U.S. At this ceremony, students receive a medal honoring their outstanding academic achievements.

Students who (a) qualify for SET within a given Talent Search year, (b) are in grade 8 or under at that time, and (c) have registered for that year's CTY Talent Search are invited to attend. This includes SET qualifiers in grades 6 and below.

CTY also holds annual International Awards ceremonies in Hong Kong and Shanghai for students residing in Asia.

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 and invited to 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.

Watch video of Medal Day.

Back to top