College Preparatory Optional Program

  • About Academics

    Central has created and maintained a reputation as one of the best college preparatory schools in Memphis. Central is a designated Optional School in the Memphis-Shelby County Schools public school district. Central’s Optional Program, as well as its diverse, vibrant, and challenging academic environment, attracts not only midtown Memphis but also students residing in surrounding areas of the city. The Optional Program at Central creates an academic, ethnic, and religious diversity to which few other schools in the city of Memphis can compare. Central was one of the first four Optional Schools when the program began in 1976 and is currently one of the nine high schools in the MSCS Optional Program. Students in attendance at Central for its esteemed Optional Program willingly accept the challenge that the rigorous college preparatory curriculum offers. This curriculum includes numerous Honors and Advanced Placement courses that refine successful Optional students, 98% of whom graduate from Central and subsequently attend college. 

    Graduating With Honors or With Distinction

    Students will be recognized as graduating with honors if they score at or above all of the subject area readiness benchmarks on the ACT or attain an equivalent score on the SAT.

    Students will be recognized as graduating with distinction by attaining a B average and completing at least one of the following:

    • earn a nationally recognized industry certification
    • participate in at least one of the Governor’s Schools
    • participate in one of the state’s All-State musical organizations
    • be selected as a National Merit Finalist or Semi-Finalist
    • attain a composite score of 31 or higher on the ACT or 1360 on the SAT
    • attain a score of 3 or higher on at least two Advanced Placement exams
    • successfully complete the International Baccalaureate Diploma program
    • earn 12 or more semester hours of transcripted post-secondary credit