2 years ago
Admissions Advice

What's an AP Capstone Diploma's worth?

I've heard from my friend that colleges filter people with an AP Capstone Diploma during college admissions and people with the Diploma have better chances of getting into the college.

is this true?

if it is true then what type of colleges follow this type of admission process? (Ivy leagues, Public colleges, Private colleges, Tier 2 or a list of colleges)

For people who've already taken AP Seminar and/or AP research, how was your experience?


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1 answer

Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

Hi @flora,

Thanks for asking this question.

Although there are not very many people that earn the AP Capstone diploma (somewhere between 13000-14000), I would not get too excited about the value of the certificate because the bar is kind of a low bar.

To earn a AP Capstone diploma you only need to score an average of 3 out of 5 on 6 APs (AP seminar, AP research, and 4 APs of your choosing).

Many applicants who apply to Ivies, Elites and top Liberal arts colleges have certainly taken more than 6 APs and would never even submit a 3 to these schools. So I'm not sure these schools are giving any material boost to improve their admissions chances if they have this.

What I do think is happening is that CollegeBoard actively sells both SAT scores and AP scores to colleges for 70 cents to $1 per name for marketing purposes. So some colleges tell CollegeBoard we want to buy 150,000 names of everyone who scored 1400 SAT and above and whoever has earned an AP Scholar w/Distinction or an AP Capstone Diploma. Once the colleges have downloaded names/contact info., they send mass mailings either physical marketing material or emails to encourage such students to apply to these colleges. You see, the more people apply to any school, the lower the acceptance rate is. So even a university like Harvard is going to send out 100,000 mailers to boost its application count. This is just marketing 101 these days for colleges.

For instance, let's say an admissions officer sees 2 files from the same HS/zip code. Student A has the Capstone Diploma in their honors and has 6 APs with 3 average AP scores. Student B has taken 6 APs, received all As in them, and has submitted (3) 5s and (3) 4s with a 4.5 average. Clearly, they will believe that Student B is the better more prepared applicant in this example. So the value of the Capstone diploma depends on the grades you receive in the 6 APs and the final AP test scores. The higher the better.

I hope this answer is helpful and useful for your decision-making.

Good luck.

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