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Do Ivy League Admissions Depts. prefer Prep Schools with IB Programs or does it matter?

Curious17Curious17 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
My oldest daughter is 10 years old and in 5th grade. She attends a girls' prep school but there is another prep school in town that offers the "IB programme" for grades 2-12. Given apples to apples on test scores, grades, extracurricular etc., would a top University or College prefer the child from the IB program versus a "traditional" prep school or put differently, do top Universities tend to select a certain # of students from IB programmes to fill their metrics. Or is it even a factor during the selection process? Does anyone from the College community have any other insight as to how to "shop" for the best private school for your child? Thank you so much!

Replies to: Do Ivy League Admissions Depts. prefer Prep Schools with IB Programs or does it matter?

  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 31,964 Super Moderator
    edited December 2017
    Given apples to apples on test scores, grades, extracurricular etc
    So, put another way, "All other things being equal." All other things are never equal.
    do top Universities tend to select a certain # of students from IB programmes to fill their metrics.
    Or is it even a factor during the selection process?
    Is IB a factor? No. Is course rigor a factor? Yes, but course rigor does not have to be IB. A college will evaluate a student in the context of the HS. So in that case, an applicant from an IB school following the IB diploma may well be more attractive than one from the same school just taking a smattering of IB classes. However, the applicant following an IB diploma may or may not be more desirable than the kid at the school down the street whose taking a challenging schedule within that school's parameters.
    Does anyone from the College community have any other insight as to how to "shop" for the best private school for your child?
    Aside from finding the best school to fit your child's needs for a High School? Trying to choose a school solely with the goal of getting the child into a "good" college is folly. Colleges admit students, not high schools. That said, a good high school will prepare as applicant to succeed in college.
  • Curious17Curious17 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Thank you!
  • Curious17Curious17 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    As a follow up, how I can I tell whether top colleges view my daughter's school's AP history, for example, to be more or less challenging than the IB History at another prep school down the street or AP History at the public school? In our area of the country, there are many independent school choices and they all claim to have honors classes, in fact no one is "regular" anymore. The schools seem to be branding themselves. It is challenging to get my arms around which one actually has the strongest academic offering in the eyes of a college. Is the best way to look at matriculation or what do you recommend? It also appears that when comparing student's SAT scores, they slice and dice them differently so it's rarely apples to apples.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 31,964 Super Moderator
    edited December 2017
    On a class per class basis, IMO, IB is the same as AP in terms of rigor and APUSH at one school is the same as APUSH at another school. Now in reality, it's not always the case. But, I don't think that the difference is going to be a make or break.

    At the end of the day, your child is responsible for his/her own learning. The school/teacher will guide the process, but if/when it fails, it's the student's responsibility to fill in the gaps. No college will accept "My school/teacher sucks" as a valid excuse.

    So you can look at various high school profiles and look at their matriculation data, standardized test scores, etc. and parse them six ways to Sunday. However, for top schools, the difference will be statistically insignificant.

    In my opinion, it's all about the school having the right fit for the kid. And there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. From my own experience, I've said many times on this site that there are schools that I knew were not right for me but are still very good schools and are right for other kids. The same will be said for colleges.
  • MA2012MA2012 Registered User Posts: 1,034 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    I will echo @skieurope - find the school that fits your child and look at the HS experience. Don't look at a HS thinking it will be a magic ticket to X, Y or Z college. Because it won't. IB is a good program for some kids. But there are limits to IB - not all schools offer all classes. I know a few college freshmen who couldn't take advanced science in one area because it wasn't offered or conflicted with another required class.
  • porcupine98porcupine98 Registered User Posts: 1,571 Senior Member
    Or, put differently... Choose the school where she will thrive now - socially, emotionally AND academically. Let her thrive. Then when time comes to apply to college, choose colleges where she will thrive socially, emotionally and academically. Might be "top" colleges, might not be "top" colleges. One step at a time....
  • sgopal2sgopal2 Registered User Posts: 2,994 Senior Member
    One other point to consider: If your child is interested in applying to UK schools, then AP or IB classes will be quite important. Otherwise I agree with the other posters, that it doesn't matter a whole lot to US colleges.

    For the top US colleges, it will be important that your child takes the most challenging coursework, whatever it may be (IB, Honors, AP, etc).
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 31,964 Super Moderator
    One other thing to point out about IB - it's not necessarily good for very strong STEM kids who are looking at post calc math or several advanced sciences.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,085 Senior Member
    As the parent of a kid who transferred to an IB school from a non-IB school as a junior....I'll add that going the full IB route can feel limiting (as skieurope alludes to above). My daughter opted out of the full IB track after her junior year because it would have meant taking a class she had already taken (2 years of it, because that's how her old school approached that particular subject) and she didn't really want to do that. So she's currently in a mix of IB and AP classes — plus ToK.

    However, to be fair and balanced, I should share that, at Brown, the AO who gave our info session presentation said that they prefer kids who are at IB schools to go full IB (which made my heart sink a little).
  • GMC2918GMC2918 Registered User Posts: 899 Member
    edited December 2017
    I would agree with @SevenDad. We lived overseas for a while, where the IB is more prevalent and in many cases it's the only option. IMHO that full IB curriculum (more than two years) is quite rigorous and is looked upon very favorably by US colleges. However, I don't think that a few IB classes here vs. a few AP classes there will make much of a difference. DEFINITELY go for the school that is a good fit and will allow your daughter to shine.

    Another tip when you're considering middle schools is to look very closely at their writing programs. Exactly what are they teaching & when? You can ask to see samples of student papers and I guarantee that you will notice differences between schools. I think that the kid who enters 9th grade with solid analytical writing skills is at a real advantage, so that's something that I would look for. STEM kid or not.
  • Curious17Curious17 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Thank you so much! All of your comments are a huge help!
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 4,809 Senior Member
    Your daughter will be evaluated in the context of her school- not the neighbor schools.

    As a parent whose kids went through a *lot* of schools (lots of moving), with some spectacular hits and equally spectacular misses, I absolutely believe that the fit of a kid to a school is all that matters. A poorly resourced school with the right environment (structure/teachers/peers/etc) can send a kid soaring toward their potential; a school with all of the very best of everything and the wrong environment for that kid will clip that kids wings. I've seen both happen.

    Maria Montessori's admonition to 'follow the child' is still the best.
  • eas4vreas4vr Registered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    IB is a very, very rigorous and demanding program. Completing the program is very self-actualizing, but it alone is not the ticket to a prestigious university. Being in the IB program is different than being in the program with solid test scores and grades with balanced ECs. IB are not equally rigorous to AP classes--they are indeed harder than AP classes, but when it comes down to it, IB is just one of many things used to evaluate the quality of a student as is AP.
    As a current IB (diploma program) student, I would advise against joining the IB program if your sole motivation is to enhance admission chances to universities. It showed my diligence on my college apps, but it took participation in sports, extracurriculars, and exceptional GPA/ test scores for us to be accepted to our dream schools. I am a very slow reader which pulled my SAT score down to a 1340. Although I was in IB and had very strong extracurriculars and GPA (4.0 unweighted, 4.76 weighted), I was rejected from UCLA because of my SAT score. This shows how IB alone will not constitute acceptances.
    HOWEVER, if you wish to truly prepare your child for college-level classes, by all means, enroll in the IB program. If the student is determined, this program will definitely straighten them up! I warn you, though, it is very stressful for students who aren't gifted with photographic memories yet pursue exceptional academics. VERY stressful.
    If you have anymore questions regarding the IB program, I'll be more than happy to answer. :)
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