Admissions

Impact of Top-Notch IB Program on Elite College Acceptance

Question: The high school that I will be attending has an exceptional IB program, and I’m taking my first AP class as a freshman. All of the students ,in the program, apply to college get in, and they receive many scholarships (2-3 million for a class of 100). The students year after year are accepted at very prestigious schools, such as Ivy League universities, Stanford, and the University of Chicago. Will it hurt or boost my chances into getting in top tier universities for being in the IB program where students have major success?

As you can imagine, there is both good news and bad news. The good news is that college officials will understand and appreciate the rigor and reputation of your school’s IB program, and–if you are successful in it–this will definitely work in your favor. But the bad news is that it may be hard to stand out in the crowd when you are in class with other bright, high-achieving students. So, in order to maximize your admission odds at the so called “top-tier’ colleges, you need to pursue interests … both academic and not … which allow you to be viewed as different from your classmates.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of applicants to the Ivies and other hyper-competitive institutions will have top grades in challenging classes and top test scores on their transcripts, no matter where they attended high school. So, in order to distinguish among so many qualified candidates, the admission folks then ask, “What’s special?”


Thus, although academic success in a well regarded IB program will definitely be a plus at admission time, your chances of acceptance at the most sought-after colleges and universities will be best if you are also successful in another arena … and, ideally, an uncommon one.