ATYP Qualification: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Thinking about qualifying for ATYP but not sure what to do?

    Attend a fall Information Meeting either in-person or online. Registration for the online meeting is available.

    If you cannot attend one of our fall Information Meetings and your student would like to test to see if he/she would qualify for the program, please follow these steps:

    • Register to view the video of the fall Information Meeting.
    • Read all of the information presented at the fall meeting.
    • Register for the in-person ACT or the online SAT through Northwestern University’s CTD Assessment (our step-by-step directions may help).
    • When registering for the SAT test, please put Academically Talented Youth as your current school  on the school information page to ensure that your score reaches our office. When registering for the national ACT put the ATYP school code 6007 under additional score reports.
    • If we receive your scores, you will hear from us. If you have not heard from us by the end of April or by one month after your test date (whichever is later), please take a screenshot of the score and email it to us at along with the student’s name, address, school, and grade.
  • When should my student test?

    December through April is our preferred testing window, although we do accept scores through June. The later a student qualifies the more limited the time available for them to complete their summer homework, particularly in English. The regular registration deadline is Sunday, May 26, 2024. We will not accept any registrations for English students after Friday, July 12, 2024, or for math students after July 31.

  • Why should I test through CTD Assessment?

    The SAT does not allow students under the age of 13 to register for their tests directly online. Not only is CTD Assessment convenient, but it provides you with a great deal of additional information regarding gifted and talented students in general, and about your child’s scores in particular.

  • Do you prefer one test over the other?
    • Either test is fine as both the ACT and the SAT contain high school material.
    • The SAT is through CTD Assessment and will have more supporting information. The ACT will be administered at WMU with high school students.
    • The ACT is in-person while the SAT is online.
    • The ACT costs $68 and the SAT costs $55. Financial aid is available for the SAT only.
    • Do not take the PSAT test; this is not used for ATYP qualification.
  • Do I have to take the essay portion of the test?


  • What should I do to have my student prepare for the test?

    Have your child take a practice test (found online for the ACT or SAT). Taking a practice test does three things:

    1. It allows the student to understand how long the test is and how fast they need to proceed to finish as much of the test as they can.
    2. The student will know before they take the test that they are not going to know all of the answers, that they’re not supposed to know all of the answers, and that this is absolutely appropriate – the test was not designed for them.
    3. Lets them see the types of questions that will be asked so they can adapt their thinking and challenge themselves to consider new types of material. DO NOT pay for an expensive test prep class. We want to know what your child knows, not how well he or she has been taught to take a test.

    If you wish to have your student introduced to the test by someone other than you, we have a Test Preview Seminar available (both in-person or online) during the months of January and February.

  • Can my 8th grader qualify for ATYP?

    In general, we do not feel that beginning ATYP as a freshman is particularly beneficial to most students. However, if you have just moved into the area and have not had the chance to see if you might qualify for the program, please contact our office.

  • How do I register for CTD Assessment?

    Online registration is easy. Follow the steps listed in our step-by-step registration guide.

  • What do students/families need to do to begin this process?
    • If a student is qualifying via the online SAT, they simply go to the CTD Assessment website and register for the desired date. Once they have received their scores, they send a screen shot to the ATYP office. If the scores are high enough, we will contact the student/family regarding an additional assessment in April. 
    • If a student is qualifying via the national in-person ACT in February or April, they simply go to the ACT page and register. Enter the ATYP school code of 6007 and your scores will be sent to us. If they are high enough, we will contact the student/family regarding an additional assessment in April.
    • If a student is qualifying via the portfolio process, the family goes online to register for the portfolio, which includes the student statement. Once the student has registered, ATYP will contact the school for the teacher recommendation(s), NWEA/MAP test scores, and grades. Again, following preliminary qualification, we will contact the family regarding additional assessments.

    Basically, once the student/family has registered either through CTD Assessment or through ACT, we either take care of everything else or send explicit instructions on what to do next. ATYP should be contacting the school for the student’s information, not the student/family.

  • What are the additional assessments?

    English students will be asked to provide a writing sample (the student will write an answer to a prompt that is sent to them). Math students will be asked to take an algebra readiness test (that we will offer online and in person). Depending on which admissions process a student is using, these assessments will be used as a qualifying or diagnostic tool. Students may receive additional information from us on skills they need to build during the summer months to be prepared for the rigor of ATYP in the fall. Students who are unwilling to bolster these skills are less likely to be successful in the program.

  • Does the student/family need to have received a letter previously or need to know any of the information that was presented in the fall?

    No, if the student/family did not receive a letter/email in the fall they should not worry, they are not behind in the process.

    For more information on ATYP, interested families can attend an information meeting or watch the video produced in the fall (register to receive the link) but no previous communication is necessary. It is absolutely fine to start from here.

Questions about the Portfolio Qualifying Process

  • What is required for the Portfolio submission?

    You will need to register the student by filling out information about the student (name, school, grade) as well as the name and email address of a counselor at the school who can provide NWEA/MAP (or other nationally-normed) test scores. You will also need to provide the name and email address of a teacher in math or English Language Arts that we can contact for a recommendation for your student. Lastly, the student will need to upload a short (1-2 paragraph) personal statement which might include what excites them about learning, why they want to take ATYP, what skills or traits they possess that will help them to succeed, or what skills or traits they should cultivate to be successful. Students will need to determine whether they are attempting to qualify for either math or English; students can only qualify for one using the portfolio option.

    You do not need to contact the school or teacher for scores, grades or a recommendation. ATYP will request those items for you. After initial review, you may be required to submit an additional assessment.

  • What will be required on the teacher recommendation?

    The teacher recommendation will consist of questions related to the student’s performance, work ethic, attitude, ability to respond to feedback, grit, etc.  The online form will be quick (using a scale) and confidential; there will also be a space should the teacher choose to provide additional information. ATYP will send the recommendation request directly to the teacher the student lists on the registration; the form will not come from the student (although the student may ask for a preferred email address).

  • Which test scores/grades should counselors send?

    If schools do not have NWEA/MAP scores for this year because they were unable to test, they should just send us the most recent scores they have. If a school does not give the NWEA/MAP test, we will consider any nationally-normed test results.

  • When will schools be asked to provide you with additional information?

    We will request items like NWEA/MAP scores only when a student has reached the point in the process where we feel it is necessary. It is not our intention to burden counselors with additional requests; we will make every attempt to send requests in bulk and to make the transfer of information as easy as possible and to reduce the time and effort dedicated to this process.