AP Capstone

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Wesleyan offering the AP Capstone program?

Wesleyan seeks to provide opportunities for our students to think critically, work collaboratively and communicate effectively about the world around them. We believe the AP Capstone program is one avenue that will provide this experience for our students.
Wesleyan is one of more than 100 schools world-wide to implement AP Capstone - an innovative program that allows students to engage in the rigorous development of skills critical for success in college: inquiry, research, collaboration, and writing. The program includes a two-course sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research. Developed in response to feedback from higher education faculty and college admission officers, AP Capstone complements the in-depth, subject-specific rigor of AP courses and exams.
The first of the two AP Capstone courses, AP Seminar, will start in Fall 2014.

How will the AP Capstone Seminar and Research Project prepare students for success in college?

By taking the AP Capstone two-course sequence of AP Seminar and AP Research, along with four AP courses, students have the opportunity to explore issues of interest to them, while developing the analytic, research, problem-solving, and communication skills that college faculty have stated are critical to success in college.

What has the response been from the higher education community regarding the AP Capstone program?

College faculty members and admissions staff from more than 50 colleges and universities (including Stanford, Columbia, Duke and UC Berkeley) have been a vital part of the design and development of the AP Capstone program. Many well-respected universities have stated they view this course work as rigorous and challenging.

Will colleges and universities award credit for this course?  

The AP Capstone program is in the early stages of development, therefore, one-to-one credit transfer at the college level has not yet been established. Representative institutions from the AP Higher Education Advisory Committee (Columbia University, Duke University, NYU, The University of Virginia, Yale University, USC, MIT, and UPenn) along with the University of Cambridge Higher Educational Advisory Committee have provided statements endorsing this program as an excellent preparation tool for success at the collegiate level.
In addition, Wesleyan’s College Advising office has spoken with both the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. While neither institution currently awards credit, both recognize the program as one which provides a significant level of rigor.

How will Wesleyan assign credit for this course?  

AP Seminar (year 1) will provide students with one elective social sciences credit. AP Research (year 2) will provide one general elective credit.

How many students may be accepted into the Wesleyan Capstone program?  

CollegeBoard recommends between 20-24 students be admitted per class section of the Capstone program. This number is based on the research components and the inherit presentation dynamics of the course.

Who should apply for this course at Wesleyan?  

Entry into this two-year AP program offering is open to current sophomores (2014-15 school year). Students should be self-motivated and interested in enhancing their inquiry, research, collaboration, and communication skills by studying topics of global relevance from an interdisciplinary perspective. The AP Capstone program fosters critical and creative thinking while providing students a unique opportunity to distinguish themselves when applying to colleges and universities.

What takes place during Wesleyan's student selection process for admission into the AP Capstone program? 

Wesleyan's AP Capstone program asks student applicants to submit a detailed application that includes three teacher recommendations, as well as writing samples. Each application will be reviewed by Wesleyan's AP Capstone panel. This panel will include the AP Capstone Chair, Lead Teacher, High School Division Head, and the Assistant Headmaster for Academic Affairs.

How will this course be graded and assessed at Wesleyan?  

In AP Seminar (year one), students will be assessed for their AP score through a team project and presentation, a research-based essay and presentation, and a written AP exam given during AP exams at the end of the year. These assessments are internally assessed and externally validated. In addition, students will complete a series of skills-based activities throughout the year under the guidance and direction of the instructor. These assignments are not restricted to any traditional means of assessment. However, they will be carefully explained in the course syllabus and will be graded by the course instructor.
In AP Research (year two), students will develop and compose an academic thesis which must be approved by their teacher and the College Board. They will be required to research and write about this thesis during their senior year. This research paper (approx 5,000 words/20 pages of content) will have a defined structure and will be followed by a presentation and oral defense of their research.

What is required to earn the AP Capstone Diploma?  

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research exams and scores of 3 or higher on four additional AP exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone Diploma (this will be noted on their final transcript).

Does the AP Capstone program accept students who might not be inclined to take AP courses? 

AP Capstone provides a diverse and integrated academic experience. It is designed to propel a variety of students towards high achievement. For students who earn the AP Capstone Diploma, the program complements the discipline-specific rigor of AP coursework and signifies their outstanding academic achievement as well as the attainment of college-level research skills. Alternatively, because of the focus of the AP Capstone program on the core academic skills needed for college success, students who only pursue the two AP Capstone courses can earn the AP Seminar & Research Certificate™ - signifying that they have attained college-level academic and research skills.