- Dima Chiaviello
AP Seminar at SWW
Students at School Without Walls have experienced their fair share of challenging classes, but AP Seminar has been a unique example of one. The class was introduced at Walls less than four years ago, and students have been taking part in its rigorous class environment ever since.
The class has been taught by Ms. Pokorak, who has supported students during their time in the class.
The requirements of AP Seminar are different from other AP classes offered at Walls. Students who take the course must enroll as a junior and are required to enroll in AP Research the following year for the class to count as a credit. Students are also eligible for an AP Capstone diploma, a certificate to set them apart stating they have achieved a 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research, as well as 4 additional AP scores that are a 4 or above. Students who take both courses will also do a modified Senior Project as part of the AP Research course, where they instead will complete a research study of their own and present it.
The style of AP Seminar is distinct, with specific benefits of the class including independence among students, learning how to analyze research, and investigating specific topics. These are aspects of AP Seminar that are not seen in other courses offered at Walls and have therefore enticed the students who take the class. Linnea Leijon, a Junior at School Without Walls currently enrolled in AP Seminar said, “I love AP Seminar. Ms. Pokorak is a great teacher, and by trusting students to be responsible and on task, AP Seminar lets me explore topics I am deeply interested in.” The class has given students the ability to do well in other aspects of their schoolwork, strengthening their ability to think critically about the evidence they observe and make concrete arguments based on such evidence. “The class atmosphere is supportive,” Leijon says, “It’s centered around pushing students to excel.”
The question remains if you’re an underclassman, how do you know if AP Seminar is right for you? Here’s what you have to know:
Write! AP Seminar is a writing course, you won’t be using the quadratic formula! If writing essays in class feels tasking and unrewarding, this class may not be for you.
Think independently! You will have to pick topics that you are interested in, which means you must be able to think for yourself and commit to a topic to thoroughly research mostly on your own.
Be collaborative! You also have to be able to work with others. Even though the class is independent, a segment of the course will be done in groups. Being able to work in groups and communicate with others is a skill you must already have or be willing to improve upon.
Be punctual! Assignments are long-term, which means you must be working through them gradually. Procrastinating is not an option for this class, however, you likely won’t feel the need to! Marisa Bello, another student currently enrolled in AP Seminar, said, “Turn your [work] in on time, and make sure its high quality, but don’t overstress it because if you are interested in your topic and genuinely want to improve your writing/presenting abilities, [it] will show in your projects.”
Don’t stress! AP Seminar is a forgiving course, overthinking will only weaken your work! Trust in yourself and your writing, and you will likely succeed in the class. Do not sell yourself short, if you need support you will have the help of Ms. Pokorak, your class, and anyone who has formerly taken the course.
Regardless of whether you choose to take the course or not, it’s safe to say AP Seminar has left a mark on the students who have taken it. For future students of AP Seminar, Ms. Pokorak offers this advice: “Challenge yourself now, so the reward will be greater in the future.”