Colleges that favor IB Diploma students

Sorry, that didn’t help.

Was this excerpt supposed to support your categorical statement that “they [LACs] really are pre professional colleges.”? It looks like an article with a statement disclosing the authors’ admitted bias (one I probably share btw) toward smaller colleges for pre-med. Great. But how does that translate to LACs are really just pre-professional colleges? It’s a non sequitur. And it doesn’t relate at all to your unsupported statement that LACs are where you go to get a high GPA, which at least implies that grade inflation is a problem at LACs (and, again by implication, not so much at “other” types of colleges/universities).

Good information. I didn’t mean to get into a ‘which is harder’ contest between IB and AP. I think you reinforced my point, though, by pointing out that it depends on the AP pathway, whereas in IB there’s less room for, as I put it, cherry picking.

As to the writing, I freely confessed and do here again that I’m no expert on these things. But I think what the others who seem closer to it than I are saying is that IB is more writing intensive across the board. I don’t think they’re comparing the TOK or whatever to the monster writing program your D did. In fact, the TOK is not what I recall to be the back breaker for IB. My D isn’t threatening to be the next great American author, and she had no problem with the capstone writing project (though it was a lot of work she didn’t particularly enjoy). I think for her it was the IAs, the prep for the IB exams, the rigor across the board in all of her classes, and the overall relentlessness of it. This idea of the accomplished student sitting back and cruising through Spring semester of senior year is 180 degrees removed from what an IB diploma kid will experience.

But I do agree with you that you can use AP to make it as rigorous as you can tolerate. Assuming you’re at the right school, of course.


Yes, that’s the unknown question. On paper, a top student should be able to get in, but there are too many factors at play, especially now. Diversity, interest, institutional needs, and so on can make a big difference.

I think too many students and parents also forget that a safety is only safe if it’s affordable and the student will be happy to attend. It’s an important four years of their lives. They need to be happy. Every April here on CC, we see posts from kids who only got into their safety and they are very upset. They feel they earned a spot at a tippy top. The problem is the probably everyone else should have earned a spot too. There aren’t enough spaces for all the great students out there. A good list is critical.


Agree. And to be clear, I was on board with most of what you said! I just wanted to point out that there are new AP options out there that have been launched specifically to address the gaps between the median AP and IB curricula that everyone has pointed out in the thread.

So, to answer the OPs question, if there are colleges that favor IB Diploma students, I suspect that list might be shrinking. I’m not an AO and can’t get in the head of one, but I do conduct alumni interviews for a T10 and there’s a noticeable difference between an applicant who took 6 APs and scored a mix of 4s and 5s and someone on track to earn a 5 on 15, mostly rigorous APs. We don’t have any IB schools in my territory but I would be hesitant to say an IB Diploma student would be automatically preferred by many colleges over someone with an AP background. I think an IB is preferable, on average, but on the Venn diagram of specific pathways, the number of courses taken, and exam results, there’s a whole lot of overlap.

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You can absolutely create a rigorous curriculum with AP, my son did. I think there’s some elements of IB that are not understood if you haven’t been through it, one being CAS - it’s really not the hours its the utterly painful documentation and really the rigidity of the curriculum that makes it tough in a very different way. There are just so, so, so many hours outside the classroom. The extended essay isn’t even a class - you’re doing that on top of your other classes. My eldest graduated with the diploma, and I confess I was ecstatic when my next child decided to go AP. In my opinion IB is more difficult in a very unique way.


Yes. I would also go as far to say that, had she had it to do over again she might not have done it. She did well because she’s a kid who’s going to do well no matter the situation. But it can be miserable, even for the kid who appreciates the whole “life of the mind” ethos.

Some people value the high school experience more than others, which is fine. If you are a person who thinks high school should be enjoyed to some extent, then I wish you well if you are going to attempt the IB diploma + any kind of serious activity outside of school. My diploma kid was a dedicated athlete, so that’s pretty much the book on her high school experience. It was just so damn time consuming.

They ought to do something to alleviate that somewhat. It gets a bit ridiculous.

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My kid felt much the same about demands. The program coordinator reminded him that in most parts of the world, students have a longer school year and more seat hours. This creates a special challenge for American students pursuing the IBD. If it feels like too much work for one school year, that’s because it was designed for a longer school year. Nobody’s making this up!


I’ll have her look into University of Rochester. Thank you for the acceptance rate doc, it has most of the colleges in her list.

That’s been exactly our experience (1 IBD grad, 1 IBD junior, 1 AP junior – 12 APs). IB is lots more writing and also an expectation of charting your own path wrt IA and EE topics. The student poses the questions for their major research works. Both my IBD students are doing 4 HLs and 2 SLs and also both did 2 APs. Senior year is insane.

AP route so far is much busier with daily assignments, quizzes, exams. Very little down time. The specific class quality varies with the teacher. About half of them aren’t even getting through the material that will be on the AP exams which is very frustrating.

IB is much more like college, but at least in our two programs, getting good grades in the high school courses in harder in AP, while getting good AP/IB exams scores is easier in AP.

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Agree with you 100%.