Full IB attractive for college admissions?

Is a full IB program attractive for college admissions? It’s been tough for DS but he has all As except for one B. Is this a leg up in the competition?

It’s a leg up on the kids that have 2 Bs. :wink:

In all seriousness, a leg up towards what? Schools are concerned about GPA and Rigor above most other factors, sort of a litmus test if you will. There are SO many students though with strong rigor, GPA and test scores applying to too few schools, that once a student passes a certain barrier, it’s random beyond that. They can’t get any higher leg up. They rely on chance if they want to apply to super popular schools.

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It depends on what the non-IB options at the high school are, as well as which IB courses (including HL versus SL options) are offered and how they match the student’s interests.

This might be helpful.

This might too but it also could be a bit self serving given that the company that compiled it is in the admissions business (and it’s not as recent).

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Your son has a leg up on my son who earned his IB Diploma with two B’s, yet had a very successful college admissions experiences. He’s now a rising Senior in college, and I believe his IB curriculum in high school has had positive impact during his college years. We’ve never looked at IB as an advantage in college admissions; rather, as a solid preparation for college.

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Thanks so much for posting these. The first one seems very old, as the admissions rates generally are much higher than what they have been for the last few years. The second one seems closer to today. However, neither one is dated or contains a time reference for the stats, so it’s hard to say.

Nonetheless, at least from these and to the extent things haven’t changed drastically, it appears very clear that an IB diploma gives a student a significant advantage on admissions. I didn’t realize how significant until I saw these!

I don’t want my daughters to do IB for the sake of college admissions, though.

The second seems to be from 2018.

The IB curriculum is rigorous and also is pretty broad (arguably more constraining in that sense). But as you can see, many colleges like the foundation it provides. At some of those schools, it seems like a strong performance in IB (as well as other top stats) and decent ECs would be enough to give you a pretty good chance in the ED round.

As for the “significant advantage”, do keep in mind that there is some correlation with other factors here. IB tends to be offered to honors students in at-least-decent school districts (or at-least-decent privates) in the US from what I understand. Some of those kids would be attractive candidates regardless. But yes, many colleges also do appreciate the standardized rigor of IB.

It’s fascinating to me how several peer schools (all with single-digit overall admit rates) have very different admit rates for IB students. It does line up somewhat with my perceptions of which schools care more strongly about high performance in a rigorous broad HS curriculum vs. other factors.

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Also, some schools really like and want IBDP students and reward them with scholarships and college credit, in the same way that some schools really like and want NMSF. Others only care to the extent that it represents rigor.

Yes, a lot of colleges give some credit for IB scores that are high enough.

Is it a selection effect or a treatment effect?

Selection effect: in high schools offering IB, it is typically the most rigorous curricular option, so the strongest students usually choose IB over other curricular options.

Treatment effect: IB actually helps students get into more selective colleges, when compared against other equally rigorous curricular and course options (though it is difficult to compare, since they are often not in the same high school).

As a practical matter, what is the alternative non-IB curricular option at the high school? Also, which courses are offered HL and SL, and do the HL offerings align with the student’s interests and strengths?

Generally for HL scores only. Minimum scores for credit depend on the college, usually within the range of 4 to 7 (out of 7), depending on the college.

Subject credit and advanced placement depend on whether the college considers the HL course content to cover what one of its own frosh-level courses covers.

@mynameiswhatever @PurpleTitan @vpa2019 The second article is from 2018, but the stats that the article quotes were published in 2011. IBO They’re way too old to be relevant.

Maybe but why would IB fall out of favor? It’s still a rigorous program.

I don’t think IB is out of favor. Colleges just get a lot more applicants now. I’m familiar with the matriculation lists for a lot of schools. IMO, schools that have IB don’t do any better in college admissions. It’s the particular student that makes a difference. I’m not saying IB isn’t valuable - it is, because of its rigor. That makes it a valuable educational choice for students. So, take IB if you want the rigor, but don’t expect IB on its own to get you into a higher tier college.


Hmm. Seems like it’s worse than that. The overall admit rates in that second file seem to be 2018 numbers while the IB admit rates seem to be 2011 numbers. That makes it very misleading for those schools that have seen a big change in admit rates.

BTW, your kid brought a ton more to the table than his IB performance, however. I dare say more than the vast majority of IB students.

I just don’t want to mislead.

Yeah, those IB/regular admit ratios from 2011 (in the first file) may only hold true in the rounds where admit rates are similar to what they were in 2011 (ED at some schools; in-state EA at some publics).

The point of posting the charts wasn’t to prove IB is a golden ticket into an elite college but it certainly won’t hurt if you receive a high score. It provides evidence of the curriculum rigor evaluation of the candidate. Same reason kids take double digit AP courses if offered…to showcase their academic prowess.

Haven’t a clue…but it’s an effect nonetheless, as far as I can see.

The high school has non-IB as well. And I want them to take the IB program if they want to for the sake of broadening their horizons. If an “effect” of that is a better shot at admissions at “top” colleges, grand. But that’s not why they should do it.