By Kyra Young, College Counselor

Canterbury has a variety of academic options for students. These options give students the opportunity to challenge themselves at a level that matches their skills and interest. Being challenged in the classroom is not a bad thing. An educational experience should involve some level of academic challenge. In fact, being academically challenged can encourage the development of study skills, clarify a student’s learning style, initiate curiosity and increase motivation. The key is to find the right balance. Too little challenge and a student can become easily bored. Too much could be overwhelming.

Students can find a balance that promotes academic success at Canterbury, through our range of courses, particularly those offered in high school.

  • College Preparatory

  • Honors (most core curriculum courses begin at this level)

  • Advanced Honors

  • Advanced Placement (considered the most challenging)

Students may have several options to choose from within a subject. For instance, a student who has met the appropriate prerequisite requirements in math can choose between Honors Calculus, Advanced Honors Calculus, and Advanced Placement Calculus.

In choosing an option, students should consider their skills and ask what level would provide both a challenge while still allowing academic success. A student who feels confident about their skills and ability to succeed may believe that advanced placement courses provide the most rigorous challenge.  

Advanced Placement courses were created by The College Board over 50 years ago. The purpose of the AP program is to offer students a rigorous curriculum that is similar to college-level courses. Students can take AP courses in various subjects and end the course by taking a national exam with scores ranging from one to five.

Canterbury has an open enrollment advanced placement policy, which means that any student interested in taking an advanced placement course can do so. Not all schools have a similar policy. Some schools require that students receive approval to take an AP course based on a determination of whether the student is on an “AP track”. Typically, in this situation, if a student does not begin on an “AP track” at the earliest opportunity, that student may find it difficult to take AP courses later in their academic career. However, Canterbury’s open policy allows students to choose AP courses or courses that best suit their timeframe and individual needs.

Canterbury’s open enrollment policy does not require direct approval from a teacher and academic advisor. However, both the teacher and advisor can offer insight and advice to students. Students interested in taking an AP course are encouraged to consider what the course will entail. Teachers can advise students about prerequisites recommended by The College Board that would be essential for success. The student’s advisor may give helpful perspective about the work required for the student’s complete schedule.

When expressing an interest in an advanced placement course, students should consider why they are interested in a course. Is it for the experience of taking an AP? Does the student believe that the course will prepare them for a particular major? Most importantly, is the student prepared for a course that may require more time, analysis and discussion?

I recently read that a difference between high school and college is that in high school one primarily learns by listening. However, in college, one learns by reading. An advanced placement curriculum offers some similarity to what a student will encounter in college. Advanced placement courses require more from a student.

Canterbury’s open enrollment AP policy is enhanced by the fact that there are so many options available. Overall, The College Board offers 38 advanced placement courses. Students at Canterbury may be able to choose from 23 different advanced placement courses. The subjects offered follow the curriculum found at Canterbury and provide a nice balance of math, science, English, history, and the arts. Among the 23 courses offered, some APs alternate each year, such as AP Biology and AP Chemistry. Others are based on student interest, such as AP Studio Art 2-D Design, 3-D Design, or Drawing.

Canterbury’s curriculum has levels of rigor that allow every student the opportunity to be both academically challenged and successful. Our open policy for advanced placement is a prime example.