AP Capstone™ / Dual Enrollment

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In addition to AP classes, Catholic Central offers AP Capstone and dual enrollment options for students who wish to test their college readiness.

AP Capstone™

Offered in conjunction with the College Board, AP Capstone is a nationally-recognized diploma designation program based on two year-long AP courses (AP Seminar and AP Research) and a total of four additional AP exams with a score of three or higher.

Unlike standard AP classes that are driven by a specific subject, AP Capstone topics are selected by each student based on their individual interests and passions. Designed to develop stronger skills in research, analysis, writing, and presenting, students do a year-long research project, presentation, and oral defense on their topics.

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Dual Enrollment

Catholic Central students have the opportunity to take courses for college credit at high school pricing. Catholic Central is proud to partner with Aquinas College to offer our students two courses per semester on campus.

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AP Capstone FAQs

What is the AP Capstone Program?

This is an innovative college-level program sponsored by the College Board that affords our students the opportunity to hone the skills colleges seek and the potential to earn an AP Capstone Diploma. AP Capstone is based on two full-year courses: AP Seminar, a foundational course open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors that engages students in cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives. AP Research is open to students who have successfully completed AP Seminar and builds on the research, analysis, communication, and collaboration skills practiced in AP Seminar. In AP Research, students will work with a mentor to choose and explore an issue deeply and from multiple perspectives in a year-long research project. Both courses build on student curiosity and interest and require a multidisciplinary approach to learning, both build on students’ previous learning experiences and because they are taught at Catholic Central, both will integrate Catholic teachings.

What are the educational benefits of participating in AP Capstone?

AP Capstone allows students to immerse themselves in topics that matter to them, deepen their passion for learning, and broaden their perspectives through independent and interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Students will strengthen their competence in analysis, research, problem-solving, and communication – skills that will serve students well throughout their life, and skills that colleges seek in their applicants. Students are guided in learning how to question as well as to seek answers to their questions.

Taking an AP course helps students build critical thinking skills, confidence, and the essential time management and study skills needed for college success. Nationally, research shows that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP exam typically earn higher GPAs in college, have higher graduation rates than their non-AP peers (“The Relationship Between AP Exam Performance and College Outcomes,” The College Board, 2009), and are much more likely to complete a college degree on time, resulting in significant savings on the cost of college (“College Outcomes Comparisons by AP and Non-AP High Schools Experiences," The College Board, 2008).

Since Catholic Central is one of a very limited number of high schools in Michigan to offer the AP Capstone Program, participants will stand out in the college admission process.

Which students are good candidates for the AP Capstone Program?

AP Seminar is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have not yet taken an AP course as well as those who have, and we want to provide a learning environment that includes a diversity of student interests and perspectives. Students applying for AP Seminar are not required to commit to taking AP Research, but of course, we are very hopeful they will want to pursue the next level of learning in the AP Capstone™ Program. Completion of AP Seminar is a requirement for enrollment in the AP Research course.

Interested students who have demonstrated the ability to work independently and collaboratively, who demonstrate the potential for success in an AP course, and who are curious about exploring ideas are encouraged to participate in this program.

How can students earn an AP Capstone Certificate or AP Capstone Diploma?

Students who successfully complete AP Seminar and AP Research will receive an AP Seminar and Research Certificate. Students who complete both courses and also complete any four other AP courses at any time in their high school career will receive an AP Capstone Diploma.

What is the cost of these courses?

The exam fee for AP Seminar and AP Research is $139 each.

How do colleges and universities recognize credit earned through the AP Capstone Program?

Being a new program, many colleges and universities have yet to determine how credits earned in the AP Capstone program will be recognized. Students are encouraged to talk to their counselor about specific college and university policies regarding AP courses. According to the College Board, the following Michigan colleges and universities have developed credit and placement policies for AP Seminar, AP Research, or both:

  • Grand Valley State University
  • Hope College
  • Michigan State University
  • Oakland University
  • Siena Heights University
  • University of Michigan
  • Wayne State University

A complete list of colleges and universities that have endorsed or developed credit and placement policies for AP Capstone courses is available on the College Board website.

Who teaches these courses at Catholic Central?

AP Seminar and AP Research are taught by experienced Catholic Central AP teachers who have completed specialized training required by the College Board in teaching and assessing the concepts and skills essential to these college-level courses.

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