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January 7, 2021

High school AP Capstone Program benefits and why your child should take advantage of it

AP (Advanced Placement) Capstone™ is an innovative diploma program from the College Board. AP Capstone is built on the foundation of two AP courses — AP Seminar and AP Research — and is designed to complement and enhance the in-depth, discipline-specific study experienced in other AP courses. The AP Capstone program equips students with the independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills that are increasingly valued by colleges.

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing, receive the AP Capstone Diploma™. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research but not on four additional AP Exams receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™. Here are some reasons why you’ll want to consider a high school that offers this opportunity.

Stand out during the college application process.

“AP Capstone is great preparation for college coursework,” said Jeri Williar, Director of Counseling at Admiral Farragut Academy, adding that it “looks very good on a student’s resume.”

Students who take advantage of the AP Capstone program send a signal to colleges that they’re serious about their education and that they’re willing to challenge themselves with rigorous coursework. 85% of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP Capstone experience favorably impacts admission decisions, and research shows that students who receive a score of 3 or higher on AP Exams typically experience greater academic success in college and have higher graduation rates than their non-AP peers.

It’s not just in the United States, either. Universities around the world recognize the AP Capstone program when making admission decisions, course requisites, and awarding university credit. Qualifying AP Exam scores earn university credit in nearly all universities in the United States and Canada and are recognized in 60 other countries worldwide. Scores of 3 or 4 on AP Exams fulfill admission requirements in many universities in the UK and Europe.

Develop key academic skills they’ll use in college and beyond.

In the AP Capstone program, the student gets to pick and choose what AP courses they want to take so if the student’s strength isn’t in math, then the student can take AP Psychology or AP History. It gives students the ability to pick the courses that they are strong in. When students enjoy the coursework they will often succeed.

The AP Capstone program was developed by The College Board after hearing from higher education faculty and administrators who were seeking incoming freshmen with proficiency in critical thinking and communication skills. Specifically, these higher education professionals wanted to identify students who were able to analyze different perspectives, evaluate the credibility of sources, use scholarly methods, build evidence-based arguments, work in teams, work with mentors, and develop and deliver team and individual presentations. Successfully completing an AP Capstone course or earning one of the AP Capstone awards communicates to colleges and universities that an applicant has these skills.

Admiral Farragut Academy student Ansley Fine ‘21 said that the AP Capstone program has made her a better student: “So far, AP Capstone has helped me in some form or another in almost every single one of my classes.”

Become self-confident, independent thinkers and problem solvers.

Admiral Farragut Academy student Turiya Moka ‘21 had never taken an AP class and wondered whether jumping into the AP Capstone program was such a good idea.

“I was shy and terrified,” Moka said of that course, which she started in the fall semester of her sophomore year. Soon, her fear turned to confidence as she realized this was one of the most helpful and important classes of her life. Her AP Seminar class, which emphasizes critical thinking and teamwork, is known as the “Think Tank.” “This is a program that teaches how collaboration is not only essential during high school and college, but how collaboration is necessary for entering the workforce and living a happy life,” Moka said.

Teacher Cathy Windish taught AP Seminar in London, England, before joining Admiral Farragut Academy in 2017.

“One of the most gratifying aspects of teaching this course stems from hearing students think, and witnessing them reach beyond their comfort zone,” she said. 

Earn college credit: Many colleges offer credit for qualifying scores.

The AP Capstone program offers flexibility in that schools can offer the program according to what fits best in their existing curriculum. High schools may choose to offer AP Seminar and AP Research courses in a variety of ways: disciplined-focused, anchored to an AP course, thematic or survey, or as an interdisciplinary course. Depending on the offering, high schools should grant credits to each course based on their local and/or state policies.

Most four-year colleges and universities in the United States—as well as many institutions in more than 100 other countries—grant students credit, placement, or both for qualifying AP Exam scores. These include top institutions such as Stanford, MIT, and the Ivy League. View the full list of colleges that offer credit for the AP Capstone program.

Learn more about how Admiral Farragut Academy may be the right fit for your high schooler that is looking for academic challenge in a welcoming and structured environment.

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