January 22, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 62  

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Advanced courses give HS students leg up

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

The Advanced Placement program in Canada, which has just recently made its way to London, may ease the transition from high school to university for some students.

The AP program offers university level courses to senior level high school students, said Peter McKegney, co-ordinator of the AP program at London’s H.B. Beal Secondary School. After completing the courses, students take uniform exams and depending how well they do are assigned as level one through five.

The AP program started at that school just two years ago, he said. “We are the only school between Kitchener and Chatham to offer AP courses,” McKegney added.

“All academically capable students can take AP courses; there are no requirements,” he explained, noting the courses are free and often give students a considerable advantage in university.

“AP students tend not to have the initial drop in their marks [upon entering university],” McKegney added.

“University departments look at their first year classes to see if [the content] matches AP course content,” said George Ewonus, director of the AP program in Canada, explaining that if there is a match, universities will give AP graduates credit for the equivalent course, allowing them to jump ahead in their education.

AP graduates receive a separate transcript which they send to universities along with their applications, he said.

“The biggest issue in the jump from high school to university is not as severe [with the AP program],” Ewonus explained, adding AP usually encourages students to go on to higher education and gives them more confidence in doing so.

The AP program has been in used in Canada since 1986, Ewonus said, adding that in the United States the program has been used since the 1950s. It was designed by the college board in the U.S., he added.

“450 high schools in Canada now [offer] AP courses,” Ewonus noted.

“We do give credit for AP exams,” confirmed Lori Gribbon, manager of undergraduate recruitment and admissions in the Office of the Registrar at Western, adding students must achieve a four or five on the exams to get credit.



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