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Course Assignments

Submitting the Application

Students may submit an application online. You may request a paper application by calling 800-393-6095.

Important Deadlines

To be considered in our initial course assignment process, applications must be received at CTY by end of business on January 17, 2018. Refer to How Courses are Assigned, below, for details on how the course assignment process works.

After January 17, applications received by the close of business each Wednesday are considered for course assignment, following the same process.

The course assignment process continues once each week until registration closes in late spring. A late fee will be charged for applications received after April 11.

How Courses are Assigned

Students are not assigned to courses on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, we use a computer program to assign as a group all students whose applications are in house by a particular date. The computer program follows a ranking system that sorts students into these main categories:

  • Returning students, ranked according to test scores.
  • Students who have never before participated in any of our academic programs, but who participated in the CTY Talent Search, also ranked according to test scores.

The computer assigns all returning students before moving to the students who have never before participated, and so on. Within categories, students with higher test scores are assigned to courses before students with lower scores.

As the computer places students, courses fill, and eventually the computer reaches a student whose first-choice course is closed. When this happens, it tries the second choice. If the second choice is full, it moves to the third choice, and so on, through all choices indicated. If the student has not indicated more than one choice, or if all choices indicated are full, the student is designated as unassigned, and the computer moves on to the next student.

Students who include several courses, sites, or sessions among their choices stand a better chance of receiving a course assignment. Listing multiple choices does not hurt a student’s chance of being assigned to the first-choice course; conversely, listing only one choice does not increase a student’s chance of receiving that course.

The computer program is not able to adjust a course assignment for one student based on what course another student received. This means that if siblings or friends wish to attend together, great care must be taken with course requests. Please call 800-393-6095 for further advice and instructions.

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Assignment Notification

Students who apply on or before January 17 will be notified of their course assignment status by email on January 19. After that, students who apply by Wednesday of a given week will be notified of their status by email on Friday of that week. Review specific notification dates. Course assignments will be available on MyCTY on approximately the same schedule.

Students will receive a course assignment packet approximately two weeks after being notified of placement in a course. Course assignment packets include site-specific information about what to bring, on-site registration, meals, housing, etc., as well as a schedule of events, maps, detailed directions, and airport locations.

Course assignment packets also contain information regarding the medical forms and instructions for requesting shuttle service. Shuttle Service is provided for an additional fee to students who need transportation to/from the site’s designated terminal.

Planning for the Summer

Although we would like to accommodate all students who apply to the program, due to space limitations this is not possible. Please do not assume that your child will be attending the program until you have received your course assignment notification.

Students Who do not Receive a Course

Students who could not be assigned to one of the choices indicated on their applications will be notified at the same time as the students who were assigned. They may withdraw, select a course from the open course list, or keep their applications active. Any student with an active application but no course assignment is automatically considered for placement each week when we run the course assignment computer program. If space opens in a course, all students with active applications that week are considered for placement based on the computer ranking system described previously; consideration is not based on when students applied. Deposits will be refunded to students who withdraw. The application fee is nonrefundable. Learn more about not receiving a course assignment.

Making Changes to Course Choices and Assignments

Before courses are assigned, students may change their requests through their MyCTY accounts. Go to and click on the MyCTY link.

If students wish to change courses after being assigned, they must use MyCTY to submit new course requests. Students will then be considered for placement in one of their new choices as part of the next regular weekly course assignment run. Priority for placement follows the usual ranking system (see How Courses Are Assigned, above).

Remember, each week the number of students requesting any particular course could exceed the space available. For this reason, placement into a new choice is NOT guaranteed. Keep in mind, too, the process is completely automated. If space is available in any new choice, the student will be moved immediately, and another student could also be moved immediately into that student’s original placement. Students should request new courses only if they are absolutely certain they want to make a change since it might not be possible to switch back to their original course.

The Waitlist Process

Students may add themselves to a waitlist for closed courses through MyCTY or by emailing Our waitlist works differently from that of many other programs. Please keep these points in mind:

  • The waitlist is not first-come, first-served. Priority is determined using the same criteria as for regular registration. This means that a student’s place on the waitlist can vary from week to week. For example, if a new student is the only student on a waitlist one week, but two returning students waitlist the next week, those two students will have higher priority.
  • Going on the waitlist for a course is a commitment. The waitlist process is completely automated, and is designed to fill every open seat immediately. If a student is at the top of the waitlist and space opens up, the student will be placed. The student is not contacted before the placement is made. Switching back to the originally assigned course, if any, generally isn't possible. If at any point, you decide that you no longer wish for your child to be considered for a waitlisted course, please be sure to update or delete your waitlist request immediately.
  • Students on a waitlist receive an email communication about their status each Friday, until they are either assigned to the waitlisted course, or withdraw their applications.
  • On April 1 students will be removed from the waitlist unless they ask the Registration Office to keep their waitlist status active.

Canceled Courses

Each year we must cancel a few courses in which students have already been registered. This is either because not enough students signed up, or because of unpredictable circumstances such as a lab becoming unavailable. Students whose courses are canceled will be contacted and may withdraw with a full tuition refund or select a course that still has space available.

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Advice to all Students

Although we would like to accommodate all students who apply and to offer them their first-choice courses, due to space limitations this is not possible. When completing the application, we encourage you to list as many courses, sites, and sessions as you are willing and able to attend. This will give you the best possible chance of participating in our program this summer. While patterns in course requests vary from year to year, we have observed these general trends:

  • Because lab space at all sites is limited, science and computer science courses often have more requests than we can accommodate. If science or computer science is your first choice, consider including a math course or humanities/writing course (if eligible) among your other choices.
  • Requests for session one often exceed the space available. If possible, include choices in session two.
  • Be flexible about sites, if possible. While the sites are located at different locations and have some different course offerings, the overall experience is quite similar wherever students attend.
  • Remember that listing multiple choices does not hurt your chance of being assigned to the first-choice course.

Keep in mind, though, that each option listed represents a commitment on your part. Do not list any course, site, or session that you are not willing to attend; we will not refund your deposit if you decline any choice listed on the application.

Important Information

After January 17, we will run course assignments weekly. Students should apply as early as possible for best consideration.

Advice to Returning Students

Returning students have priority in the ranking system for course assignments, but to receive the full advantage of this benefit, you should be sure to have your application in house by January 17, when the first course assignment process will be completed.

In addition, never assume that you will receive your first choice. In some cases, there is not enough space in a course even for all the returning students who apply on or before January 17.

Remember, too, that if you list only one choice, and we cannot place you, you will not have another chance to select courses until the end of the course assignment run, and your choices may be more limited. List in advance as many options as are acceptable to you.

Advice to First-time Students

If you participated in the Talent Search in a previous year, you should be able to have your application in house by January 17, when the first course assignment process will be run.

If you submit your application after January 17, please check our summer programs and dates for a list of all of the courses still available. This will save you the disappointment of applying for selections that are already filled. Keep in mind that the available courses will be filled according to our ranking system. While you may be assigned to a course on that list, we cannot guarantee that you will be. It is important to list as many options as possible from the available courses.

Attendance for Both Sessions

To maximize the number of students who are able to attend the program, all summer programs participants are limited initially to enrolling in just one three-week session.

Requests for an additional session may be submitted through MyCTY. Once you have submitted your initial application, you may edit the application to request an additional session. Please do not submit a second, entirely new application.

Students may submit requests as soon as they have received an initial course placement. However, we will not begin considering students for assignment to an additional session until February 23. Students whose forms are received in our office by Wednesday of a given week will be notified of their status by email on Friday of that week. They will be considered for placement using the same computer ranking system described under How Courses are Assigned.

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