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Humanities FAQs

Am I eligible to enroll in CTY Online Programs writing, grammar, critical reading, and visual fluency courses?

To see the programs and courses for which you are eligible, check the CTY Eligibility Assessment or check the tables showing eligibility guidelines on the Admissions and Eligibility page. Students must have a qualifying reading/verbal score on the appropriate test to be eligible for CTY Online Programs courses. Grammar FUNdamentals and some Young Readers’ critical reading courses are also open to students with qualifying math scores.

Students should always review course prerequisites carefully by clicking on the course title on the Course List prior to enrolling.

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Where should I start?

Please review carefully the prerequisites that are listed with the course descriptions. Students with qualifying scores should review the course descriptions for students in their grade level, paying special attention to the sample assignments and detailed course information, before deciding which course is the best fit. Students new to CTY Online Programs should choose courses that list no prerequisites other than a qualifying SCAT, PSAT, SAT, or ACT score.

Several writing courses require completion of other CTY Online Programs or CTY Summer Program courses as additional prerequisites and are intended for students returning to the program.

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Which formats are offered?

Critical reading, grammar, and visual literacy courses are web-based, and all instruction takes place in a web classroom. Students can post and read messages in the web-based classroom at any convenient time as long as they finish work by the deadline. 

Several writing courses offer a choice between email or web-based formats and others also offer a flexi- paced alternative. See course descriptions.

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Which writing format is best for me?

In the email and web-based formats, CTY Online Programs sets the schedule.

Email writing courses: Students and instructors exchange letters and assignments via email, and students can query their instructor via email during the writing process. This format is best for independent, well organized students whose other commitments limit their available time.

Web-based writing courses: Students interact with their instructors in an online classroom, and some lessons require pre-writing exercises in addition to essays. This format also includes mandatory writers' workshops and/or discussions in which students comment upon each other’s work and thoughts. This web-based format is best for students who enjoy computer-mediated interaction, relish sharing their writing with an audience, and can commit adequate time to the work.

In the flexi-paced format, you set the schedule.

Flexi-paced writing courses: Students start the course on a set date and develop with their instructors a schedule to complete the course within the next nine months. Students submit one assignment at a time, allowing instructors two weeks to review and provide feedback before moving on to the next unit.

Although the flexi-paced format provides considerable flexibility, students must manage their time carefully to avoid rushing at the end of the course. The Process of Writing, Writing for an Audience, Crafting the Essay, and Writing Analysis & Persuasion are offered in the flexi-paced format.

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Is there a difference in cost between the various formats?

Tuition varies by course. However, there is no difference in cost for the same course offered in web, email, or flexi-paced formats.

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How does the Online Programs Writing Series work?

Students submit work according to schedule. Instructors comment thoroughly on the work, mixing praise with constructive criticism. Students apply these extensive comments to the next step in that project. Both exchange emails about each other’s comments, creating a conversation between instructor and student not only about the work but also about the process of doing the work. Web-based writing courses include peer review workshops of student work and/or peer discussions of readings, fostering a richly interactive community.

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How do the critical reading and grammar courses work?

The Art Meets Science and the Young Readers' Series involve substantial reading and written discussions of texts. Students typically read, discuss, and write at least every other day (academic year & early summer) or daily (intensive midsummer). The Young Readers’ courses include creative writing assignments; the Art Meets Science courses include a writing workshop in which the instructor and peers offer constructive criticism.

In Building Blocks and From Structure to Style, students work with the instructors in an online collaborative community to learn about grammar usage and the application of this knowledge to their own writing. Grammar FUNdamentals covers a broad range of topics to meet current middle-school grammar standards and reinforces lessons with online grammar games, puzzles, tests, and creative writing assignments.

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What are the hours for courses?

Students need not be online at a specific time. They can post and read messages in the web-based classrooms at any convenient time as long as they finish work by the deadline.

The critical reading, grammar, and visual fluency courses require about three hours a week of work.

The time needed to devote to writing courses varies according to the format:

  • Email writing students should expect to commit two hours weekly (fall session), three and a half hours weekly (early summer session), or one hour and a half daily (late summer session).
  • Web-based writing students should expect to commit three hours weekly (fall session), five hours weekly (early summer), or two hours daily (late summer session).
  • Flexi-paced writing students should expect to spend about four hours per assignment.

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Can a student take a CTY Online Programs summer session course at the same time as a vacation or a CTY Summer Programs course?

No. The time commitment for a CTY online course is not feasible when a student is also on vacation, at camp, or in a CTY Summer Program. Students enrolled in CTY Summer Programs must schedule their Online Programs summer session courses for a different time period or may choose the flexi-paced format, if available.

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What if I have a summer vacation planned?

Some summer session (12 weeks long) courses allow for two weeks total vacation, scheduled at the student's convenience. Students should notify the instructor at the course's start about their vacation schedules. When not on vacation, students must meet their course’s due dates. Students who make up their work can finish their courses in ten weeks, and students in the Young Readers’ courses are particularly encouraged to try to keep up with their classmates whenever possible. If in doubt, please contact us by email us before applying.

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Is it possible to take two CTY Online Programs courses at the same time?

Yes. Students may take two courses at the same time, but they should keep in mind that each course requires a substantial time commitment; thus, students who already carry a busy schedule of homework and extra-curricular activities may find it difficult or unwise to add two CTY Online Programs courses to the mix.

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How is course work evaluated?

Writing courses

Instructors write a lengthy commentary on every assignment. Instead of "A+ Great Work!" instructors' comments may be up to a page long! View samples of Crafting the Essay student work and instructor critiques:

Assignment, Student Essay, and Instructor Critique
Another Student Essay and Instructor Response
Award-Winning Student Essay

Critical Reading, Grammar, and Visual Literacy courses

Reflecting a dual emphasis on discussion and on writing, instructor comments assess your efforts in both these areas. Participation in discussions is mandatory, and feedback about your participation and your writing is provided on an ongoing basis. Grammar FUNdamentals also includes open-note tests.

Course completion documents  for all courses

Within two to three weeks after the course’s end, you’ll receive a detailed, descriptive, page-long evaluation of your performance. This course completion document focuses on academic performance, progress, and effort. The feedback is addressed to the student and is written in a formal tone.

Topics discussed in the course completion document are specific and content-centered. Educators are able to recognize the high level of work and to measure student achievement by their own standards. Letter grades are not generally given, but we can provide them if a parent or guardian makes a written request.

A certificate of completion will also be sent to the mailing address in MyCTY for each student who successfully completes a course.

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How can I request a letter grade for the course?

Parents or guardians may request grades for courses where narrative evaluations, not grades, are generally given. To request a letter grade, contact us by email.

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