Upper School Student Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions of students on tours at Canterbury.

What is the difference between AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate)?

Both the AP and IB programs offer challenging courses to high school students for which they can earn college credit, but their philosophies and goals are quite different.


The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies—with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both—while still in high school.


AP was developed in the United States, with no set program of courses and no designated diploma. Students can take just one or a dozen AP classes, depending on their school and schedule. Canterbury currently offers 20 AP courses that are open to students in Grades 10-12. Our Class of 2015 valedictorian took 17 AP courses during his high school career, and is now attending the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Read more about 2015 valedictorian Ched Milic.


Enrollment in AP courses alone exhibits both rigor and acceleration in the academic setting. As such, colleges use AP course enrollment as a predictor of academic success in college. Major studies have demonstrated that students who take one or more AP classes perform better at college and graduate in a more timely fashion than other students. A student’s performance on an AP exam is not considered during the college process unless a student wishes to highlight a specific achievement.


In contrast, IB was developed in Switzerland to be an internationally recognized diploma. It is possible to take a few IBs without earning the diploma, but to earn the diploma one must take a certain amount of courses in a range of subjects. Student performance on IB exams must be considered in the college process. Students are considered pre-IB through Grade 11; they are only accepted as an IB student in Grade 11.


So now that you know more about the two programs, we’ll get to the big questions: Which one do colleges prefer? Which one looks most impressive?


Actually, colleges don’t automatically consider AP or IB harder or more impressive on a transcript. Since IB is a rarer program, a college cannot penalize students for not taking it. Plus, there are huge differences in how both AP and IB courses are taught and graded at high schools across the country. Because of this, colleges – especially the most selective ones – simply want to see that students have taken the most challenging course load available at your high school.

Where do CSF students go to college?

Canterbury students attend colleges and universities as close as the University of Tampa and as far away as Franklin College in Switzerland. The most important consideration is not where to attend college, but ensuring it is the best fit academically and socially. See Our College Acceptance List..

What does it mean to be a Canterbury graduate?

By any measure, Canterbury School of Florida graduates are successful. They are class presidents and team captains, National Merit Scholars, and recipients of awards for academic and athletic achievement. They go on to found tech startups, direct documentaries, positively transform the world through service, and much more. Underlying it all is the strength of their character and their commitment to lifelong learning. See our Portrait of a Graduate then meet our notable alumni.

What are the academics like in the upper school?

Canterbury’s academics are the ideal blend of tradition and innovation. The Upper School offers a strong college preparatory program that graduates students who are resourceful, independent thinkers. Students are encouraged to participate in class discussions, make ethical and aesthetic judgments, think critically, and articulate ideas by writing and speaking clearly. The Upper School years are the pinnacle of your intellectual and spiritual development. The program challenges and prepares students, often in unconventional ways.

For example, a recent upper school U.S. History assignment called Picture This: A Historical Narrative involved students researching and analyzing an image pertaining to immigration during the turn of the 20th century.

Upon selection and approval of a chosen image, students wrote a historical narrative, five paragraphs in length, about their experiences as the person in their chosen image during the turn of the 20th century. Students assumed the identity of the person in the photograph and, accurately and descriptively, described their life during an in-class presentation, citing why they immigrated to the United States and the challenges they faced during the process. In addition, students analyzed the rapid growth of U.S. cities, the problems that caused, and the transition of urban areas.

Are there class trips?

Every class, Grades 5-12, takes a class trip during the year. See all class trips.

Can I be involved in multiple extracurricular activities at one time?

The best thing about Canterbury is that students are encouraged to try (and excel) at everything! Arts electives are a part of everyone’s school-day schedule, but you can also participate in school plays, band, choral concerts and more, while also playing a sport. Certain times of the year, if you are involved in a school play, you may have to negotiate practice and rehearsal schedules with your director and coach. This is a common practice (no pun intended) when activities overlap. While these overlaps can seem stressful at times, they are also a golden opportunity to practice real-life time management skills.

What is your lunch program and where do I eat lunch?

Students can bring their own lunch or use our online ordering service to have a hot lunch delivered to school. Since 90% of our days are sunny and warm, many students eat lunch outside, enjoying nature. We do have an indoor Crusader Café where students can also sit and socialize.

What sports does CSF offer?

Canterbury offers 13 different sports at junior varsity and varsity levels. Learn more about our athletics program

Are there fun events?

All year long! From Homecoming Spirit Week to the Talent Show to the International Studies Food Festival, movie nights, game nights, and dances, as well as the surprise “Knight Day” sometime during the school year, there is always a reason to smile on campus. On Knight Day, the middle and upper school faculty surprise students on an unannounced day as they arrive to find there are NO classes--just fun, relaxation, and community games and arts.

Which grade is best to start at private school?

We have many “lifers” at Canterbury--those students who attend from prekindergarten through graduation. The best thing about Canterbury is that, no matter when you start, the students will welcome you with open arms and make you feel as if you’ve been here forever, and the teachers will help you get to where you need to be academically. That said, the sooner you can acclimate to Canterbury’s college prep rigor, the smoother your transition to college life will be.

Can I afford this?

Canterbury does not offer academic or athletic scholarships, but financial assistance is available based on need. Approximately 22% of students at Canterbury receive financial aid. Learn About Our Financial Aid Process.

What other 'fees' does Canterbury charge besides tuition?
You can find all academic and activity fees on our Admission page. Additional expenses might include textbooks, uniforms (academic and athletic), lunches, Homecoming decoration supplies, school dances, athletic team photos, theater/Thespian participation fees, end-of-year class trips, donations for community service projects, etc.