Currently I am pursuing what would be the "IB certificate of merit", which at my school is awarded on completion of "4 or more IB classes including assessments". In my case currently I am a sophmore in Japanese 200 (pre IB), pre IB Biology/chemistry (half a semester of each, one class), pre IB World History, and pre IB English. I plan to continue these 4 as a junior/senior when they become "real" IB classes, as well as pre IB child psychology, and the "real" IB class IB Family Psychology.
Recently I have been considering doing the pre IB math course over the summer, in order to do the IB math course at my school so I could pursue the IB diploma.
With this I asked some people if the IB diploma was overrated in comparison to the IB certificate.
Essentially I was told no in short, by 3 people, one person went so far as to say and I quote.
"relatively speaking, certificate = worthless consolation prize"
"the IB community doesn't recognize the certificate, it's just an inglemoor thing. So when you apply for college, if you're not a diploma candidate, they don't care."
"the "certificate of merit" is only at our school, but the IBO will send you a little piece of paper that says "hey you took a class with us!"".
Obviously I could see the IB certificate and the IB Diploma not being looked on at the same level, but to say the IB certificate is completely useless and not looked at by colleges? What is the situation here exactly, I'm inclined to believe colleges WOULD care about the IB certificate (assuming they were US colleges at least).
My school offers these 3 IB-program related awards
IB diploma-4 "core" IB classes (math, science, English, SS), 4 years of a foreign language, fine-art credit (I don't know if it has to be IB or not) of one year, occupational education credit for one year (again, I don't know if it has to be IB or not). TOK class, 150 CAS hours, and the extended essay. As well as taking all IB exams.
IB "Certificate of Merit" (what I am going for): Completion of 4 or more IB courses, and taking the IB exams.
IB certificate: Completion of 1-3 IB courses, and taking the exams.