September 14, 2018

Benefits of the AP Capstone Program

Written by Deb Stevens

Both parents and students know just how competitive it can be nowadays to get into a good college. Tutors and advanced classes continue to promise an edge to ambitious students looking to stand out, but here at Paraclete High School, we are implementing a trusted program to not only allow our graduates to establish themselves as high quality candidates, but also to allow them to learn and grow like never before. 

The AP Capstone Philosophy

The AP Capstone Program has two different versions to allow students to achieve recognition while expanding their educational horizons. This, like the AP courses offered in schools across the country, is a College Board initiative to challenge students beyond the regular curriculum.

Advanced topics and subject matter in AP classes have been recognized for decades in higher education, but college professors reported that students lacked a depth of understanding in areas, and did not always demonstrate the ability to apply methods and theories from one course to another. The Capstone Program was created to fix this gap.

Capstone Diploma

To achieve the Capstone diploma, a student takes four AP subject classes over the course of their high school career, along with two new courses.

First, the AP Seminar class brings students together to learn how to think critically, and bring their shared knowledge to a group of peers to solve a complex question or problem. Over the course of the Seminar, students learn research skills and presentation skills that are necessary for success in the program, as well as college. Next, the AP Research class challenges the student to take the skills they learned in the Seminar class, and apply them in a long-term, independent research project. 

Capstone Certificate

There is another option for students to explore new academic opportunities through the AP Capstone program. Students who succeed in both the Seminar and Research classes without passing 4 additional AP classes also receive recognition in the form of the Capstone Certificate. 

Benefits of the AP Capstone Program

Only a few high schools across the country have been allowed to offer this new program. As a standardized course, it requires a facilitator to undergo training to understand the principles of the program, and the school must be able to support students participating in the program and offer other AP classes as well. 

While the AP Capstone Program does offer a student an additional certificate or diploma that helps them stand out on the list of college applicants, the benefits don't stop there. 

  • Cross-curricular Learning

Instead of keeping class material focused within each course of study, the AP Capstone program emphasizes the importance of bringing concepts and lessons from one subject and applying it to other curricula. 

  • Independent Research

Based on a student's personal interests, they are able to craft their own research project. This allows students to think critically about issues present in everyday life beyond the school's walls.

  • Collaborative Thinking

In working alongside other independent and ambitious students, the AP Capstone program provides a space for collaborative problem solving and processing. Group projects challenge students to contribute equally to research questions, and coordinate for a joint presentation. 

Accomplishing Paraclete's Mission

Here at Paraclete High School, we strive to cultivate students who are well-rounded individuals: Involved Citizens, Effective Communicators, Critical Thinkers, and Productive Individuals. We believe that the AP Capstone Program is an opportunity for our students to apply themselves to these principles, and best prepare themselves for college and beyond. 

Our students are well-rounded people. Learn more about joining us at Paraclete!


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