Where the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Can Take You

Where the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Can Take You

By Birgitte J.

Why IB?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is the most comprehensive internationally recognized college preparatory programme in the world. The college-level courses are taught in the last two years of high school and are held in high regard by college Admissions Directors for it’s rigid academic standards, particularly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The universally recognized high standards of the programme has made it an attractive offering at high schools worldwide.  

The International Baccalaureate Programme was established in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968 and has been adopted by the majority of international schools around the world since the inception of the course. What sets the International Baccalaureate apart from other rigorous academic preparatory programs is the core of the program that connects the Areas of Knowledge from which the students select subjects. 

Course Selection and the Core

Students choose 3 Higher Level and 3 Standard Level subjects from six Areas of Knowledge. To complete the IB Diploma, students must also fulfill the three component requirements of the core curriculum; Theory of Knowledge (ToK), an Epistemology course connecting the Areas of Knowledge, the Extended Essay (EE), a 4000-word research essay, and Creativity, Action and Service (CAS), comprising of consistently documented extra-curricular activities through the duration of the programme.

IB Diploma Programme

Rigorous Assessment

What makes the IBDP attractive to colleges is the comprehensive organization of the programme comprising high standards in all subjects across the curriculum, and the way the assessments are structured to be externally moderated by independent IB Examiners. Assessments culminate in a combination of externally moderated Internal Assessments, from which student work is randomly selected and submitted anonymously, and External Assessments culminating in a traditional exam room setting at programme completion in the Senior year, in which schools are subject to random audits by the IB Organization every few years to ensure exam conditions are rigorously met. The External Assessments are also submitted to the IB anonymously to avoid local, cultural and racial biases for a fair and consistent grading system respected by higher learning institutions. In addition, grading by Junior Examiners is moderated by Senior Examiners in a system that verifies consistent grading across the curriculum.  


Benefits of being an IB Student in the University Application Process

The IB is structured as a comprehensive programme that focuses on capability in all Areas of Knowledge, ensuring that Diploma Programme graduates have mastered the skills necessary to succeed in college courses. Admissions officers are well aware of the rigor and capabilities required to complete the Diploma, and IB predicted grades are sent in along with school grades in the application process. 

In the United States, some colleges award up to 30 college credits for high scores in IB courses, with more credits awarded for Higher Level courses than Standard Level courses. In addition to college credit, a high-achieving IB Diploma Candidate is also more likely to receive merit scholarships for their efforts in the IB Diploma Programme. All things being equal, when an IB Diploma candidate is evaluated against a non-IB candidate, the Diploma candidate will win the college spot. Students are most likely to keep their college acceptance based on predicted grades, even if the final IB grade falls well below prediction, however college credit depends on the IB grades awarded and merit scholarships could be lost if the predicted grade falls far below expectations. 

In the UK, Universities also accept candidates based on IB predicted grades sent to the universities by the high school. However, UK Universities reserve the right to withdraw admittance to the university if the Diploma score falls several points below the predicted grade in the desired area of study. Please check IB Predicted grade requirements in the area of study before applying to specific programmes at schools in the UK. 


1- Some schools allow select high-achieving students to take 4 Higher Level courses
2- Students must choose one subject from each Area of Knowledge, with the exception of the Arts. If the Arts is not chosen, two subjects must be chosen within Group 3 (Human Sciences) or Group 4 (Natural Sciences).
3-IB Exams are administered in May and November (mostly in the Southern Hemisphere)
 4-A ‘predicted grade’ is the IB grade the teacher predicts the student will receive based on IB Internal Assessments. Accurate prediction is ensured through an external moderation process.

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