A New Academic Program for Accelerated High School Students
Paraclete High School offers a two-year program allowing students the opportunity to dive into AP courses and earn the AP Capstone diploma.
What is the AP Capstone program?
AP Capstone is a two-year program for high school students who want to take AP courses that will enrich the traditional subject classes with courses in research and skills preparing students for the rigorous study of higher education.
The students who are awarded the AP Capstone diploma are dedicated, independent, and effective communicators. The diploma is awarded upon completion and passing of the two Capstone courses as well as passing four other AP courses. To earn this diploma students have displayed proficiency of analytical thinking, real-world application of problem solving, as well as successful completion and mastery of a several research projects both individually and in groups.
Defining Scholars for Colleges
In a competitive academic world, AP Capstone allows the ambitious student the opportunity to stand out. The flexible content of the curriculum provides the student with an interdisciplinary background for their studies, an increasingly valuable asset on any campus. The two AP classes in the Capstone program are typically taken over the course of two years, which demonstrates commitment on behalf of the student.
How AP Capstone works
High school students pursuing the Capstone diploma will first take the AP Seminar class in 10th or 11th grade. This course incorporates both team and individual-based aspects, including presentations and projects on subjects of the student’s choosing. At the end of the AP Seminar course, there is an end-of-the-course exam, which students will need to complete in order to continue on into the second year of the program.
In order to achieve the Capstone diploma, each student is required to take four AP courses and exams outside the Capstone Seminar and Research courses.
Next, students who have completed their AP Seminar course will have the opportunity to take the AP Research course in 11th or 12th grade. This course is more focused on independent work and develops skills necessary for successful scholarly research, as well as the defense of a body of work. The Research course culminates in an extended essay, coordinating their own research, creating a multi-media presentation and a demonstration of defense of the work by the student author.
While the Capstone diploma is an incentive for students, these courses within the program can be taken without any other AP course. If students chose to only take Capstone or is not taking the other four AP course to achieve a Capstone diploma, when successfully finishing Capstone, the students who achieve a score of three or higher in AP Seminar and Research courses will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.
Is the AP Capstone Program right for me?
The AP Capstone is not an easy undertaking but is a great opportunity for an independent thinker to bring their intellectual and academic work to the next level.
The AP Capstone is a great fit for students who have the ambition to attend competitive four-year colleges or universities after their time at Paraclete. These students are able to organize their workload and manage homework well. Perhaps most importantly, each student will be conducting a long term research project, so it helps to have a curiosity and to want to apply theories and methodologies across different areas of study.
If you still have questions about the AP Capstone program, reach out!
Our AP Capstone Program leader, Dana Johnston, is a wonderful resource.
The History of the AP Capstone Program
Universities and colleges came together with the AP College Board to improve upon the traditional AP course offering in the AP Capstone program. While freshmen were knowledgeable about certain subject matter, professors found they often lacked the experience connecting what was on a test with real-world applications, or between disciplines.
Based on this feedback, the College Board designed this new two-year program to help bright young minds develop these skills that are so necessary in higher education and the professional world.
The AP Capstone program is not to be taken independently of other AP courses, but rather to be missing link between these subject-specific classes. Four AP courses are required for the Capstone diploma, but a student can take more with a guidance counselor’s approval.