The International Baccalaureate Program in the US

Jul 2024

6 Minute Read

Tagged as: Building a Résumé

Mainly quotes from admissions at various schools on their opinion of the IB

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is recognized, both nationally and internationally, for excellence in preparing students for the college years and beyond. This diploma is by far one of the most respected ways for students to experience university-level courses.

In a previous post, we talked about what getting an IB diploma involves, and how the assessments are scored. Below you will find a sampling of research and opinions on how the IBDP is viewed by some of the most prestigious universities in the United States.

What admissions directors are saying:

University of Michigan, Cliff Sjogren, former Director of Admissions:

"A transcript that reveals a student’s enrollment in International Baccalaureate courses serves notice to the admissions officer that the applicant is someone who accepts rather than avoids educational challenges. Further, a successful IB student will enroll at Michigan with some advantages over students who have taken less intensive programs…Unquestionably, a school that graduates each year a number of students with IB diplomas has demonstrated its commitment to high educational standards and that commitment will serve to influence admissions decisions at the University of Michigan."

University of Michigan , Joseph Gore, Admissions Counselor:

"We definitely take note of the IB Diploma in the admissions process at Michigan! Feel free to quote me on that!"

Michigan State University, Pamela Horne, Assistant to the Provost for Enrollment and Director of Admissions:

"My eyes light up when I see ‘International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme’ on a transcript. Students who apply to Michigan State University with IB credentials are assumed to be mature, curious, and creative. They have proven to be successful in a rigorous program that is both broad and deep in its content and intellectual challenge. On campus, IB graduates move with ease in a diverse and global university that demands intercultural skill and adaptability. The challenge of completing an IB diploma means that a student has engaged in the kind of rigorous work that is likely to help them become not just an outstanding college student and citizen of the world, but an exceptional one."

Oakland University:

"Oakland University values the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and its engaging and challenging curriculum that encourages critical thinking, intercultural understanding and respect."

Harvard University, Marilyn McGrath Lewis, Asst. Dean of Admissions:

"Success in an IB program correlates well with success at Harvard. We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB Diploma Program on the transcript." GPA is not nearly as important a factor in university admission as the IB Diploma. If a student has to choose, choose the Diploma over protecting the GPA."

Duke University, Christoph Guttentag, Director of Undergraduate Admissions:

"One of the advantages of an IB curriculum is its structure and quality. It is a coordinated program, well established, well known and well respected. We know the quality of IB courses, and we think the IB curriculum is terrific."

Brown University, Panetha Ott, Admissions Officer:

"I don’t think there is anyone who does not respect the I.B."

Virginia Tech, Dr. Eugene Carson:

"IB students who attended [Virginia Tech] as freshmen significantly outperformed all other freshmen, including students who had taken Advanced Placement courses."

Universities are becoming increasingly aware of the knowledge and skills IB students bring with them to college classes. However, many students do receive credit for both SL (standard level) and HL (higher level) classes, even though the published policy was once to recognize only HL courses. Even if students do not get university credit, there is great value in taking IB courses and completing the required assessments.

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