APEX Scholars Program Information

About APEX: APEX Home | Program Information | Setting and Philosophy |
The Course of Study | Admission Process | Benefits | Program Rewards |
4 Year Planning | Teachers | All About APEX Slideshow | The APEX Brochure |
The Profile of APEX Scholars

Applying to APEX: Application Timeline | Online Application |
About Teacher Evaluations in Support of Applications

APEX Program - Setting and Philosophy

The APEX Scholars program is designed as a four year course of study through which a select group of students follows a comprehensive curriculum combining accelerated honors level and intensive advanced placement level course work. The course of study provides students with a broad, general background in many academic areas at levels appropriate to highly academically gifted and motivated learners.

The program setting includes a combination of both heterogeneously and homogeneously grouped classes integrated within the whole school. After a ninth grade program designed to offer structured support and skill refinement, the course of study is specifically designed to allow individual choices for APEX Scholars, affording them the flexibility to pursue individual educational goals during their junior and senior years. APEX Scholars are an integral part of Walter Johnson High School, not members of a school within a school.


The Course of Study

Initially, students are homogeneously grouped whenever possible in order to facilitate cross-disciplinary learning experiences, nurture academic growth, build self-confidence, provide unique experiences, and prepare students for advanced placement course work. APEX Scholars are expected to complete a well-rounded educational program.

  • The freshman year is reserved for honors, and APEX level courses and one AP® course (APEX/AP U.S. Government and Politics).
  • In the sophomore year, students are expected to complete at least one, not more than two, Advanced Placement® courses.
  • In the junior year of the program, students may elect up to three Advanced Placement® courses.
  • By the end of the senior year, students should have completed successfully at least six Advanced Placement® courses and "APEX Senior Seminar" course. The Senior Seminar class meets one evening a week during first semester.
  • The seven core APEX courses in sequence are:
    • APEX Biology
    • APEX/AP U.S. Government & Politics
    • APEX English 9
    • APEX/AP US History
    • APEX English 10
    • APEX/AP World History
    • APEX Senior Seminar
      The course enables APEX Scholars to conduct independent research and develop projects based on student interest. Students also participate in seminar discussions reflecting on core values that guide and direct the development of their independent research projects.

Admission Process

Application to the APEX Scholars Program may be initiated by a student or a parent. Teachers should encourage students to apply whom they feel meet the requirements and would benefit from this program. The selection process begins for each student when the completed application is received. The application timeline for submission is available on the Walter Johnson website.

Admission Information and Requirements

Each applicant is responsible for submitting a complete and accurate online application by the announced deadlines. The application must contain:

  • Part 1 to include the names and email addresses of four teachers of eighth grade academic courses in English, math, science, social studies, or world languages, who have agreed in advance to provide evaluations of the applicant (submitted online).
  • Part 2: Extra-curricular Activity Form listing all organized activities the applicant participated in during 7th and 8th grade, with verification signatures (submitted on paper).
  • APEX Scholars Writing Sample administered at Walter Johnson High School for all students in WJ clusters schools and students at the magnet middle schools and private schools who reside in the Walter Johnson attendance area.
  • Official Report Cards for the applicant's course work in grades 7 and 8 (supplied by the current school's counseling department). Applicants are expected to have earned a grade point average of 3.5 or higher for grades seven and eight.


The Walter Johnson APEX committee reviews the submitted applications and evaluates applicants' performance and readiness for the program in a holistic manner.

Applicants who do not submit Parts 1 and 2 of the application or do not attend the writing sample will not be evaluated.

Applicants will receive one of the following letters from the APEX committee:

  • full acceptance to the APEX Scholars Program;
  • wait-listed status, based on availability of seats in the program; or
  • not accepted, with a deadline for the submission of appeal.

Applicants have a period of ten school days from the date of the decision letter to return a either a letter of commitment to enter the program, a letter of acceptance of wait-list status, or a letter of appeal of the committee decision.


Course Selection

Careful planning and selection of courses in the lower grades is important to meeting the prerequisites for optional Advanced Placement® courses in the upper grades.

In all cases, when a student elects to take an Advanced Placement® course, the student is also expected to pay for and take the corresponding Advanced Placement® test from the College Board.

Should a student, with appropriate counseling, decide that the APEX Scholars Program no longer meets his/her personal goals, the student may enter the honors level program.

The APEX Program is only available to students residing within the WJ Cluster. If a student opts to apply for this program from outside the cluster, he or she must also apply for a transfer stating an unusual or hardship situation. An acceptance into the APEX Program is not a reason for a transfer approval.


Program Rewards

APEX Scholar
The designation of APEX Scholar will be awarded at graduation to any student in the program who has maintained a 3.0 GPA in at least six AP® level courses while attending WJHS, has taken the corresponding College Board AP® tests for at least 6 AP® courses by the end of the senior year, and has an overall weighted G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher. AP® courses must be year-long courses or the equivalent number of semester courses. The APEX Scholar designation and an explanation of its significance is included with transcripts sent from WJ.

College Board AP® Scholar
APEX Scholars will also be recognized as AP® Scholars through the College Board provided their AP® test scores meet College Board criteria.


Benefits enjoyed by APEX Scholars

  • Joining a cohort of gifted students in an intellectually stimulating program within the student's own community, which offers the flexibility to pursue individual educational goals.
  • Specialized support and preparation for successful completion of Advanced Placement® course work.
  • Opportunity to earn college credit, which can be applied in the United States and abroad, while in high school.
  • The potential to enter college with sophomore status.
  • Specialized classes and opportunities for extended, cross disciplinary learning experiences.
  • Formal recognition by the College Board in the AP® Scholar Program.
  • An accelerated program especially designed for highly gifted, able, motivated learners.
  • Specialized field trips and unique APEX experiences.


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