What Is AP Seminar?
An AP course with no prerequisites, AP Seminar helps a wide range of students develop critical thinking, analytic writing, collaboration, and academic research skills on topics of the teacher’s and student’s choice.
More than half of current AP Seminar teachers are part of their school’s English department, though this course can be offered through any academic department.
The 10th Grade Impact
AP Seminar is offered in more than 2,000 schools, with rapid adoption in grade 10. When compared with their non-AP peers, 10th-grade Seminar students on average:
- Earn higher scores on AP English, history, and government exams taken in grades 11 and 12.
- Achieve higher first-year college GPAs.
- Are more likely to persist in college.
AP Seminar allows me, as an educator, to address skills that are lacking, build upon preexisting skills, and develop and adapt lessons that pique students’ interests. AP Seminar allows teachers and students alike to expand vocabulary, build knowledge of real-world issues and perspectives, and develop empathy. It allows me flexibility as a teacher to best meet the needs of my students. This flexibility, and the discussion it elicits, has strengthened my love of teaching.
— Ashley Nisbett, AP Seminar Teacher, Port Huron Northern High School
Why Schools Are Choosing AP Seminar for English 10
By providing teachers with a unique instructional framework, AP Seminar helps students build a powerful foundation for critical and transferable research skills: investigation, collaboration, writing, and presentation.
Schools across the country are already utilizing AP Seminar as their English 10 offering because AP Seminar:
- Fits with current curriculum and allows for more flexibility to layer in cross-curricular content.
- Meets state standards.
- Emphasizes evidence-based reading, writing, and speaking.
- Provides a clear pathway to continued learning through AP Research.
Learn more from teachers at:
Many English classes are driven by content and spend the year with readings dominated by imaginative literature. AP Seminar has created a broader context for reading informational texts, but more importantly, the performance tasks have pushed students to explore the world around them for a deeper understanding of how it all works. Doing real-world investigations and offering research-based solutions has produced some critical thinkers who are motivated to do something in their community.
— James Wszolek, English Teacher (AP Seminar) and Department Co-Chair, La Porte High School
Understanding AP Seminar College Credit Policies
AP Seminar was created in response to college admissions leaders’ request for an AP course that would help students develop skills of collaboration, research, writing, and presentation. Because there are many other AP courses widely used for college credit—from Biology to U.S. History—admissions leaders wanted AP Seminar to focus purely on skills needed in every college major, not the content of one specific college class.
Accordingly, colleges do not typically award college credit for AP Seminar scores, and when they do, it is most often general elective credit.
Instead, AP Seminar is the ideal booster of subsequent AP scores and a powerful indicator of college readiness on a student’s transcript. Research has found that students who take AP Seminar in 10th grade achieve higher scores on AP English, history, and government exams taken in grades 11 and 12. They’re also more likely to persist in college and earn higher first year college GPAs.
Educators should view AP Seminar in 10th grade as a way to prepare many more students for success in a wide variety of 11th- and 12th-grade classes, and to stand out in college admissions.
Getting Started with AP Seminar
AP Seminar is a flexible course offering, with no prerequisites for students. It can be used as an English offering, and it may also be followed by AP Research if a school wishes to offer a two-course pathway that emphasizes research-based investigation.
AP Seminar and AP Research, together, make up the AP Capstone Diploma™ program. Both courses are yearlong offerings and AP Seminar is a prerequisite course for AP Research.
Students who complete the two-year program can earn one of two different AP Capstone awards, which are valued by colleges across the United States and around the world.
Schools that choose to offer AP Seminar for English do not need to offer AP Research.
Instructional Resources for Teachers
Teachers who are new to teaching AP Seminar as English 10 can take advantage of the following instructional resources.
- Instructional Guide: Strategies to incorporate English 10 skills such as literary analysis and creative writing into the course.
- Sample Syllabus A: Integrates full literary texts (Night, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Macbeth) into the course and suggests a final unit to address narrative writing standards
- Sample Syllabus B: Weaves literary fiction and non-fiction texts throughout the course.
- Sample Syllabus C: Connects longer works read over the summer to shorter texts (including artistic works) based on thematic links.
See the full AP Seminar Course and Exam Description.
Teachers can also find answers to key curricular and instructional questions by viewing the following YouTube videos:
- What’s AP Seminar? How does it relate to English 10?
- How can I organize my course?
- Can I still teach literary texts?
- Can I still teach a wide variety of writing types?
For even more information, listen to Season 6, Episode 3, of The Coordinated podcast.
Take Advantage of Professional Learning
New AP Seminar and AP Research teachers will need to complete professional learning before teaching either course.
New for the 2022-23 school year: Professional learning opportunities tailored for teachers in English language arts departments will be hosted by select AP Summer Institutes during Summer 2022.
Get more information about professional learning for the AP Capstone Diploma program.
Two Steps to Offer AP Seminar in the 2022-23 School Year
1 Apply Now: Both schools that are interested in offering only AP Seminar for English 10, and those that also are interested in offering AP Research, should have a school or district leader complete the free AP Capstone Diploma application. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis through the end of the 2021-22 academic year.
2 Register for Professional Learning: Ensure your new AP Seminar and/or AP Research teachers are registered for required professional learning.