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Course Assignments

Submitting the Application

Students may submit an application online.

Important Deadlines

To be considered in our initial course assignment process, applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on January 25.

After January 25, applications received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern each Friday are considered for course assignment the next Friday. View the complete registration schedule. A late fee will be charged for applications received after April 12.

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 received by a particular date. The computer program prioritizes students according to a number of factors. The factors include whether or not this is the student’s last year of eligibility for a given program, whether the student is a returning or first-time student, whether the student tested through CTY’s Talent Search, and test scores.

An algorithm accounting for these criteria creates a ranked list of students and begins assigning courses starting at the top of the list. If a student’s first-choice course is already full, the student will be considered for their next course choice, if one was selected. If the student has not indicated more than one choice, or if all choices indicated are full, the student will not be assigned to a course.

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 ranking system does not take friend or sibling requests into account during the course assignment process. If siblings or friends wish to attend together, please call 800-393-6095 for further advice and instructions.

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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.

Course Assignment Notification

Students who apply on or before January 25 will be notified of their course assignment status by email on February 1. After that, students who apply by Friday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern of a given week will be notified of their status by email the next Friday. Review specific notification dates. Course assignments will be posted on MyCTY on approximately the same schedule. For students who apply after January 25, the time between application and course assignment is 7 to 13 days, depending on what day of the week the application is received. View the complete registration schedule.

Site-specific information packets are posted in MyCTY beginning in mid-February. These packets cover what to bring, on-site student check-in details, meals, housing, etc. They also provide a schedule of events, maps, detailed directions, and airport locations.

Instructions for completing the required medical form and requesting airport shuttle service are also available in MyCTY.

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. Students are automatically waitlisted for their current choices. If they prefer, they may add or change choices or withdraw their applications. Read more about the waitlist process below. Deposits will be refunded to students who withdraw. The application fee is nonrefundable.

Making Changes to Course Choices and Assignments

If students wish to add or change courses, they must go to MyCTY at and submit a new course request. All changes made by Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern during the week of course assignment will be considered. Visit the registration schedule for more information.

Students will then be considered for placement as part of the next regular weekly course assignment run. Priority for placement follows the usual ranking system (review 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 not placed in any of their course choices are automatically waitlisted. Other students may waitlist for closed courses through MyCTY. Students remain waitlisted until they take action through MyCTY to remove themselves from continued consideration. Please keep these points in mind:

  • The waitlist is not first-come, first-served. Waitlisted students are not assigned a number on the waitlist. If a course opens, all waitlisted students with that choice will be considered, regardless of whether they have been assigned to another course or how long ago they applied for the course. Priority is determined by the algorithm described above. This means that a student’s place on the waitlist can vary from week to week.
  • If a student has been assigned a course, they may choose to waitlist for another choice through MyCTY. They can remain in their current course while being considered for their waitlisted choices.
  • The waitlist process is automated. If a student is at the top of the waitlist and space opens up, the student will be moved out of their current course (if any) and placed in a new course. The family is not contacted before the change is made. Switching back to the originally assigned course 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, remove themselves from the waitlist, or withdraw their application.
  • On April 20 students will be removed from the waitlist unless they ask CTY Enrollment Services 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 CTY experience is similar wherever students attend.
  • Remember that listing multiple choices does not hurt your chance of being assigned to the first-choice course.

Please keep in mind that each option you list 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 25, 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, be sure to have your application received by CTY by January 25, the deadline for being included in the first round of course assignments.

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 25.

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 Talent Search in a previous year, Please have your application submitted by January 25.

If you submit your application after January 25, please check the website 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 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 online 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 at the time of application. However, we will not begin considering students for assignment to an additional session until March 1. Students whose forms are received in our office by Friday of a given week will be notified of their status by email the next Friday. They will be considered for placement using the same algorithm described under "How Courses are Assigned".

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